Skip to main content

Full text of "Frozen Chosin : U.S. Marines at the Changjin Reservoir"

See other formats


U.S. Marines at the Changjin Reservoir 

by Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, USMC (Ret) 

■ he race to the Yalu 
was on. General of 
the Army Douglas 
MacArthur's strategic 
triumph at Inchon 
and the subsequent breakout of 
the U.S. Eighth Army from the 
Pusan Perimeter and the recapture 
of Seoul had changed the direction 
of the war. Only the finishing 
touches needed to be done to 
complete the destruction of the 
North Korean People's Army. 
Moving up the east coast was the 
independent X Corps, command- 
ed by Major General Edward M. 
Almond, USA. The 1st Marine 
Division, under Major General 
Oliver P. Smith, was part of X 
Corps and had been so since the 15 
September 1950 landing at Inchon. 

After Seoul the 1st Marine 
Division had reloaded into its 
amphibious ships and had swung 
around the Korean peninsula to 
land at Wonsan on the east coast. 
The landing on 26 October 1950 
met no opposition; the port had 
been taken from the land side by 
the resurgent South Korean army. 
The date was General Smith's 57th 
birthday, but he let it pass unno- 
ticed. Two days later he ordered 

On the Cover: in this poignant pho- 
tograph by the peerless Marine and 
Life photographer, David Douglas 
Duncan, the dead ride in trucks, legs 
bound together with pack straps. 
Photo by David Douglas Duncan 
AT left: A cold and exhausted 
Marine light machine gunner 
climbs resolutely toward a ridgeline. 
National Archives Photo (USAF) 

Colonel Homer L. Litzenberg, Jr., 
47, to move his 7th Marine 
Regimental Combat Team north 
from Wonsan to Hamhung. Smith 
was then to prepare for an 
advance to the Manchurian border, 
135 miles distant. And so began 
one of the Marine Corps' greatest 
battles — or, as the Corps would 
call it, the "Chosin Reservoir 
Campaign." The Marines called it 
the "Chosin" Reservoir because 
that is what their Japanese-based 
maps called it. The South Koreans, 
nationalistic sensibilities disturbed, 
preferred — and, indeed, would 
come to insist — that it be called 
the "Changjin" Reservoir. 

General Smith, commander of 
the Marines — a quiet man and 
inveterate pipe-smoker (his fa- 
vorite brand of tobacco was Sir 
Walter Raleigh) — was not the sort of 
personality to attract a nickname. 
His contemporaries sometimes 
referred to him as "the Professor" 
but, for the most part, to distin- 
guish him from two more senior 
and better known General Smiths in 
the World War II Marine Corps — 
Holland M. "Howlin' Mad" Smith 
of famous temper and mild-man- 
nered Julian C. Smith of Tarawa — 
he was known by his initials "O. P." 

Across the Taebaek (Nangnim) 
Mountains, the Eighth Army, 
under Lieutenant General Walton 
H. Walker, was advancing up the 
west coast of the Korean peninsu- 
la. Walker, a short, stubby man, 
was "Johnnie" to his friends, 
"Bulldog" to the press. In World 
War II he had commanded XX 
Corps in General George S. 

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A88898 
MajGen Oliver P. "O.P. " Smith com- 
manded the 1st Marine Division 
throughout the Chosin Reservoir cam- 
paign. A studious man, his quiet 
demeanor belied his extensive combat 
experience. His seemingly cautious 
style of leadership brought him into 
frequent conflict with MajGen 
Edward M. Almond, USA, the impetu- 
ous commanding general ofX Corps. 

Patton's Third Army and had been 
a Patton favorite. But these cre- 
dentials held little weight with 
General Douglas MacArthur. He 
had come close to relieving 
Walker in August during the worst 
of the situation in the Pusan 
Perimeter. Relations between 
Almond and Walker were cool at 

MacArthur had given Almond 
command of X Corps for the 
Inchon landing while he contin- 
ued, at least in name, as 
MacArthur's chief of staff at Far 
East Command. Almond, an ener- 


getic, ambitious, and abrasive 
man, still nominally wore both 
hats although his X Corps com- 
mand post in Korea was a long 
distance from MacArthur's head- 
quarters in Tokyo. 

"General Almond in 1950 and 
1951 in Korea had several nick- 
names," wrote Roy E. Appleman in 
his Escaping the Trap: The U.S. 
Army X Corps in Northeast Korea. 

'Generally, he was known to his 
friends and close associates as 
Ned. Other names were 'Ned, the 
Anointed,' which meant he was a 
favorite of General MacArthur's, 
and 'Ned, the Dread,' which 
referred to his power, his brusque 
manner, and sometimes arbitrary 

Many persons, both then and 
later, thought that X Corps should 

have now been subordinated to 
the Eighth Army. But on the 28th of 
October, "O. P." Smith was less 
concerned with these higher-level 
command considerations than he 
was with events closer to his head- 
quarters at Wonsan. The 1st 
Battalion, 1st Marines, sent south of 
Wonsan to the coastal town of 
Kojo-ri, at the direction of X 
Corps, to protect a Republic of 
Korea supply dump had been 
roughly handled by a surprisingly 
strong North Korean attack. Smith 
thought that the battalion com- 
mander "was in a funk and it 
would be wise for Puller to go 
down and take charge." Colonel 
Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, the regi- 
mental commander of the 1st 
Marines, left late that afternoon by 
rail with the 2d Battalion, 1st 
Marines, "to clear up the situa- 

On the following day, Smith 
was annoyed by an order from 
Almond that removed the 1st 
Korean Marine Corps (KMC) 
Regiment from his operational 
control. The two commanders 
conferred on Monday, 30 October. 
Almond agreed to the return of 
one KMC battalion in order to 
expedite the move of the 5th and 
7th Marines to Hamhung. After 
meeting with Almond, Smith flew 
by helicopter down to Kojo-ri and 
found that Puller indeed had the sit- 
uation well in hand. 

Tensions and differences be- 
tween Almond and O. P. Smith 
were no secret. Almond had first 
met the Marine commander on 
Smith's arrival in Japan on 22 
August 1950. As Almond still 
asserted a quarter-century later: "I 
got the impression initially (and it 
was fortified constantly later) that 
General Smith always had excuses 
for not performing at the required 
time the tasks he was requested to 

With the 1st Marine Division 


Department of Defense Photo (USN) 421392 

Six weeks after the successful assault of Inchon, the 1st Marine Division made a 
delayed but unopposed landing at Wonsan on 26 October 1950. Heavy mining 
of the sea approaches with Soviet-made mines caused the delay. 

After landing at Wonsan, the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, was sent south to the 
coastal town of Kojo-ri. Here it was savaged by an unexpectedly strong North 
Korean attack. MajGen Smith sent Col Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller south with the 2d 
Battalion, 1st Marines, to "take charge." 

Photo by Cpl W T. Wolfe, Department of Defense Photo (LJSMC) A4323 

assigned as part of X Corps, 
Almond was Smith's operational 
commander. Smith's administrative 
commander continued to be 
Lieutenant General Lemuel C. 
Shepherd, Jr., commanding gener- 
al of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, 
with headquarters in Hawaii. 
While not in the operational chain- 
of-command, Shepherd was re- 
sponsible for the personnel and 
logistical support of the 1st Marine 
Division. This gave Shepherd, an 
old war-horse, an excuse for fre- 
quent visits to the battlefield. 
Fifty-four-year-old Shepherd and 
57-year-old Almond got along 
well, perhaps because they were 
both Virginians and both gradu- 
ates of close-knit Virginia Military 
Institute — Almond, Class of 1915 
and Shepherd, Class of 1917. "I 
liked him," said Shepherd of 

LtGen Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., left, 
arrives at Wonsan Airfield on 31 
October for one of his frequent visits 
and is greeted by MajGen Edward M. 
Almond. The two generals got along 
very well, perhaps because they were 
both Virginia Military Institute grad- 
uates. Both are wearing cuffed Army 
combat boots, a footgear favored by 
all those who could obtain them. 

Photo by Cpl Jack Nash, National Archives 
Photo (USA) 111-SC351739 


Photo by Cpl Jack Nash, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC351740 
Using a map spread out on the hood of a jeep, MajGen Edward M. Almond briefs 
LtGen Le>nuel C. Shepherd on his arrival at Woman on 31 October. At the 
extreme left is MajGen William J. Wallace, Director of Aviation at Headquarters 
U. S. Marine Corps, who accompanied Shepherd. MajGen Oliver P. Smith 
stands behind Shepherd and Almond. MajGen Field Hams is on the extreme right. 

Almond at VMI, "but I really can't 
say he was one of my closer 
friends." Shepherd had had reason 
to expect command of X Corps for 
the Inchon landing, but MacArthur 
had given command to his chief of 
staff, Almond. Shepherd exhibited 
no visible grudge and Almond, in 
turn, always made Shepherd wel- 
come on his visits and he often 
stayed with Almond in his mess. 
Years later, Shepherd, who consid- 
ered Almond an excellent corps 
commander, said of him: "He was 
energetic, forceful, brave, and in 
many ways did a good job under 
most difficult conditions." 

Concerning Almond's relations 
with Smith, Shepherd said: "He 
and O. P. just didn't get along, 
from the very first. They're two 
entirely different personalities. . . . 
O. P. [was] a cautious individual, a 
fine staff officer who considered 
every contingency before taking 
action. On the other hand Almond 
was aggressive and anxious for the 

X Corps to push ahead faster than 
Smith thought his division should. 
Smith wisely took every precau- 
tion to protect his flanks during his 
division's advance into North 
Korea, which slowed him down 
considerably. I'm sure Almond got 
into Smith's hair — just like I'm sure 
that I did too." 

As a glance at a map will con- 
firm, North Korea is shaped like a 
funnel, with a narrow neck — 
roughly a line from Wonsan west to 
Pyongyang — and a very wide 
mouth, the boundary with Red 
China and a bit with the Soviet 
Union on the north, formed by the 
Yalu and Tumen Rivers. Because 
of this geographic conformation, 
any force moving from the north to 
south had the advantage of a con- 
verging action. Conversely, forces 
moving from south to north must 
diverge. As Walker and Almond 
advanced to the north, the gap 
between Eighth Army and X Corps 
would grow wider and wider. This 

may have concerned Walker, but it 
does not seem to have bothered 
Almond — nor their common com- 
mander, General Douglas Mac- 
Arthur, many miles away in Tokyo 
in what he liked to call his "GHQ." 

General Shepherd arrived at 
Wonsan for one of his periodic vis- 
its on Tuesday, 31 October. Next 
morning Shepherd flew down to 
Kojo-ri to visit Puller and on his 
return to Wonsan he and Smith 
flew to Hamhung to see Litzen- 
berg. That night Smith entered in 
his log: 

Litzenberg is concerned 
over the situation. He has 
moved up behind the 26th 

Col Homer L. Litzenberg, Jr., com- 
manding officer of the 7th Marines, 
was known to his troops as "Litz the 
Blitz, " more for the alliteration than his 
command style. At the outbreak of the 
war, Litzenberg was in command of the 
6th Marines at Camp Lejeune. In 
August 1950, the 7th Marines was 
hurriedly re-activated at Camp 
Pendleton using cadres drawn from 
the 6th Marines. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4719 


ROK Regiment and will 
relieve them tomorrow. Two 
Chinese regiments have been 
identified to the front. The 
ROK regiment is very glad to 
be relieved by the Marines. 
The ROKs apparently have 
no stomach for fighting 

China Enters the War 

Most Chinese historians now 
assert, and most Western histori- 
ans are now ready to believe, that 
China entered the Korean War 

In 1948, Kim II Sung, then 37, 
had emerged under the patronage 
of the Soviet occupation as the 
leader of the so-called Democratic 
People's Republic of Korea with its 
capital in Pyongyang. In the West 
he remained a shadowy figure. 
Reputedly he had been a success- 
ful guerrilla fighter against the 
Japanese. He had returned to 
North Korea at World War IPs end 
as a hero. 

With the civil war against the 
Chinese Nationalists at a successful 
close, Mao in late 1949 and early 
1950 released four divisions made 
up of soldiers of Korean origin to 
return to Korea. These Kim, under 
Soviet tutelage, reorganized into 
mirror images of Soviet rifle divi- 
sions in equipment and training. 
Early on Kim II Sung learned how 
to play Mao Tse-tung against 
Stalin. For more than a year, Kim II 
Sung zigzagged back and forth 
between Moscow and Peiping (not 
yet known in the West as 
"Beijing") seeking Stalin's and then 
Mao's support for an overt inva- 
sion of the South. 

Both Stalin and Mao were at 
first skeptical of Kim's ambitions. 
Stalin cautioned Kim that he 
should cross the 38th Parallel only 
in a counteroffensive to a South 
Korea invasion of the north. Mao 

advised Kim to be prepared for 
protracted guerrilla warfare and 
not to attempt to reunify Korea by 

For Mao, Kim's ambitious plans 
were a distraction. He was much 
more interested in completing his 
victory against the Chinese 
Nationalists by "liberating" Xing- 
jiang, Tibet, and, most importantly, 
Taiwan. But in the spring of 1950 
Stalin, playing his own game, gave 

Kim a qualified promise of Soviet 
support with the proviso that the 
North Korean leader consult with 
Mao. Accordingly, Kim went again 
to Peiping in mid-May 1950, put 
on a bold front and told Mao that 
Stalin had agreed with his plan to 
invade South Korea. A cautious 
Mao asked the Soviet ambassador 
to confirm Kim's assertion. A sly 
Stalin replied that while he 
approved Kim's plans, the deci- 


Marine Corps Historical Center Photo Collection 
Peng Dehuai, left, commander of the Chinese Communist Forces meets with 
Kim II Sung, premier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Peng later was 
China 's Minister of National Defense but because of his criticism of the Great Leap 
Forward he was dismissed. During the Cidtural Revolution he was arrested, 
imprisoned, tortured, and died in 1974 from a lack of medical care. He was posthu- 
mously rehabilitated as a "great revolutionary fighter" and loyal party member. 

sion to invade South Korea was a 
decision to be made by China and 
North Korea. Until then Mao's 
position had been that Taiwan's 
liberation must have priority over 
Korea's unification. Reluctantly, 
Mao reversed these priorities but 
cautioned Kim on the strong pos- 
sibility of intervention by the 
United States on the side of South 
Korea. Mao had almost no regular 
troops in northeast China. He told 
Kim that he would move troops 
into Manchuria, poised to cross 
into Korea, but that they would 
not enter the war unless American 
troops crossed the 38th Parallel. 

The concentration of Chinese 
forces along the Yalu did not real- 
ly begin until mid-July 1950 with the 
formation of the Northeast China 
Border Defense Force, about 
260,000 troops. By mid-August 
Mao was certain that the United 
Nations forces would land at 

Inchon. On 23 August, the same 
day that MacArthur was wresting 
final approval for Inchon at a con- 
ference in Tokyo, Mao was meeting 
with his political and military lead- 
ers in Peiping. They were ordered 
to complete all preparations by the 
Northeast China Border Defense 
Force for war. The Ninth Army 
Group, which had been poised 
near Shanghai for the invasion of 
Taiwan (still known to the Western 
world as "Formosa"), was one of 
the major units ordered to move 

The Inchon landing gave 
urgency to Chinese preparations 
to enter the war. Two days after 
the landing on 15 September 1950, 
a liaison party was sent to 
Pyongyang. Meanwhile, Kim II 
Sung had asked Stalin for help, 
including putting pressure on 
China to send troops. Stalin con- 
sidered the most acceptable assis- 

tance by Chinese armed forces 
would be in the form of "people's 
volunteers." In a telegram to Mao 
on 1 October, Stalin advised: "The 
Chinese soldiers may be consid- 
ered as volunteers and of course 
will be commanded by the 
Chinese." Mao responded the next 
day that this was his intention. 

For many years Western histori- 
ans supposed that Lin Piao, a leg- 
endary Chinese Communist leader, 
commanded Chinese forces in 
Korea. They were wrong. At a 4 
October conference in Peiping, Lin 
Piao argued strongly against send- 
ing troops into Korea to fight the 
Americans and refused to lead the 
intervention, using the subterfuge of 
poor health. Lin went off to 
Moscow for medical treatment and 
Mao named Peng Dehuai, a tough 
old revolutionary, to take his 
place. Peng, born in Hunan 
province of peasant stock, had 
emerged as a senior commander 
in Mao Tse-tung's famed Long 
March in 1934-1935. Peng arrived in 
Peiping too late for the 4 October 
meeting but met the next day with 
Mao who directed him to be ready 
to enter Korea by 15 October. On 
8 October, Mao officially ordered 
the creation of the Chinese 
People's Volunteers, which would 
be the expeditionary element of 
the Northeast China Border 
Defense Force, with Peng as both 
military commander and political 

That same day, 8 October, Mao 
sent his adroit vice-chairman and 
foreign minister, Zhou Enlai, to the 
Soviet Union to discuss with Stalin 
the provision of air assistance and 
military equipment. Zhou met with 
Stalin at his Black Sea resort. Stalin 
was noncommittal and said that he 
was not yet ready to provide air 
support. In Manchuria, Peng 
Dehuai was furious when he 
learned this. He stormed back to 
Peiping to meet again with Mao. 


Meanwhile Kim II Sung was press- 
ing for immediate Chinese help. 

In early October, Zhou Enlai 
informed the Indian ambassador in 
Peiping, Kavalam M. Panikkar, that 
if the United Nations forces 
crossed the 38th Parallel, China 
would send troops to defend 
North Korea. This warning reached 
Washington through diplomatic 
channels in New Delhi and Lon- 
don. Substantiating reports came 
through Moscow and Stockholm. 
The warnings were forwarded to 
MacArthur's GHQ in Tokyo. 

On 15 October, the famous 
Wake Island meeting of President 
Harry S. Truman with General 
MacArthur took place. Truman's 
later blunt, but inadequate, expla- 
nation for the conference was "I 
wanted to have a personal talk 
with the General." A wary 
MacArthur perceived the meeting 
as a presidential ambush primarily 
designed to reinforce the 
Democratic Party's chances of suc- 
cess in the upcoming congression- 
al elections. According to 
MacArthur, the possibility of 
Chinese intervention came up 
almost casually. He stated in his 
Reminiscences that the general 
consensus was that China had no 
intention of intervening. Truman 
would later say in his Memoirs that 
the threatened intervention in 
Korea was a prime reason for the 
meeting. He wanted MacArthur's 
"firsthand information and judg- 

What Truman took away from 
Wake Island was that the war in 
Korea was won and that the 
Chinese Communists would not 
attack. Asked about the chances of 
Chinese intervention, MacArthur, 
according to Truman, replied that 
there was very little chance that 
the Chinese would come in. At the 
most they might be able to get fifty 
or sixty thousand men into Korea, 
but since they had no air force, "if 

the Chinese tried to get down to 
Pyongyang, there would be the 
greatest slaughter." 

MacArthur remembered the con- 
versation quite differently. He 
would later say that it was a "pre- 
varication" that he had predicted, 
"that under no circumstances 
would Chinese Communists enter 
the war." He characterized his 
Wake Island view on the possibili- 
ty of Chinese intervention as 
"speculative." His own local intelli- 
gence, filtered through to him by his 
long-time G-2, Major General 
Charles A. Willoughby, USA, told 
him that large numbers of Chinese 
troops were massed across the 
Yalu, but his estimate was that 
America's virtually unopposed air 
power would make large-scale 
intervention impossible. 

Four nights after the Wake 
Island meeting, on 19 October, the 
Chinese in massive numbers began 
crossing the Yalu. 

General Almond's Ambitions 

The entry of Chinese troops in 
force into North Korea was not 
picked up by United Nations intel- 
ligence, neither visually by aerial 
reconnaissance nor audibly by 
intercepts of radio signals. In 
northeast Korea, Almond contin- 
ued his advance with great confi- 
dence. Almond's over-riding 
ambition was to beat his rival, 
General Walker, to the Yalu. His X 
Corps included two strong U.S. 
divisions — the 1st Marine and the 
7th Infantry — and two Republic of 
Korea or "ROK" divisions — the 
Capital and 3d — and there were 
more troops on the way. With the 
expected arrival of the U.S. 3d 
Infantry Division the total would 
come up to 102,000, about two- 
thirds as many troops as Walker 
had in his Eighth Army. 

The two ROK divisions, orga- 
nized into the ROK I Corps, could 

From left to right: MajGen David G. Barr, Commanding General, 7th Infantry 
Division; MajGen Edward M. Almond, Commanding General, X Corps; and Col 
Herbert B.Powell, Commanding Officer, 17th Infantry. After Barr's division made 
an unopposed landing at Iwon on 29 October, Almond pushed Barr to get to the 
Yalu. Powell's regiment was the spearhead for the advance. 

Photo by Cpl Alex Klein, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC351957 



1st Marine Division 
Zone and Objectives 
November 1950 

■ Standard gouge 

: Roods 

Narrow gauge 

10 20 




Miles H— 

best be described as light infantry. 
They had no tanks and their only 
artillery were obsolescent 75mm 
howitzers. Almond's optimistic 
assessment of the ROK corps' 
fighting capabilities was "that they 
were a good deal better than the 
people they were chasing, the dis- 
organized, disabled North Korean 

"I realized," said Almond years 
later, "that we were scattered all 
over the landscape, but the gener- 
al deployment was controlled by 
the terrain of the area in which the 
[X] corps was to operate." Almond 
should also have realized that 
there were strings tied to his 
employment of the 1st Marine 
Division and its companion 1st 
Marine Aircraft Wing. Shepherd, in 
Hawaii, was watching the use of 
the Marines very closely and so 
was the Commandant of the 
Marine Corps, General Clifton B. 
Cates, in Washington. 

Army Major General David G. 
"Dave" Barr's 7th Division had 
loaded out from Pusan on 19 
October as a follow-on to the 1st 
Marine Division at Wonsan. Barr 
had been the chief of staff of several 
commands in Europe during World 
War II. After the war he had head- 
ed the Army Advisory Mission in 
Nanking. At the war's beginning 
his 7th Division had been stripped 
to provide fillers for the 24th and 
25th Divisions, the first divisions to 
be deployed to Korea. The 7th 
Division, before following the 
Marines ashore at Inchon, had 
been hurriedly brought to war 
strength with untrained South 
Korean recruits — the so-called 
KATUSA or "Korean Augmentees 
to the United States Army." 

Now, when the Marine landing at 
Wonsan was delayed, Barr's desti- 
nation was changed to Iwon, 75 
miles northeast of Hungnam. Iwon 
was still theoretically in "enemy" 

territory, but it had good beaches 
and was known to be free of 
mines. Barr reloaded the 17th 
Regimental Combat Team under 
Colonel Herbert B. Powell into 
seven LSTs (tank landing ships) to 
be used in an amphibious assault in 
the event that the beaches were 
defended. They were not. As at 
Wonsan, the South Koreans had 
already taken the port from the 
land side. Powell's RCT-17 landed 
unopposed on 29 October and 
plunged ahead in a dash for 
Hyesanjin on the Yalu River. By 
the end of the month Powell's lead 
battalion was in a bitter four-day 
fight with the beaten, but still stub- 
born, North Koreans at Pungsan. 
In the days that followed, the 
remainder of the 7th Division came 
ashore. The 31st Infantry began 
landing on 3 November with the 
mission of moving in on the left 
flank of the 17th Infantry. The 32d 
Infantry followed on 4 November 


and went into bivouac northeast 
of Hungnam. On 8 November, the 
31st Infantry ran into Chinese 
troops on the slopes of Paek-san, a 
7,700-foot peak. In what was the 
7th Division's first contact with the 
Chinese, the regiment reported at 
least 50 enemy killed. 

Almond considered his control 
over the ROK I Corps to be no dif- 
ferent than that he had over the 
1st Marine Division and the 7th 
Infantry Division. Not all would 
agree, then or now, that his com- 
mand of the ROK units was that 
complete. Their more binding 
orders came from President Syng- 
man Rhee. While the landings at 
Wonsan and Iwon were still in 
prospect, the ROK Capital Division 
had marched steadily up the coast 
road to Iwon. The ROK 3d 
Division, meanwhile, had moved 
northwest from Hamhung toward 
the Chosin Reservoir. 

On the Eighth Army front, the 
Chinese, whose presence in Korea 
had been doggedly denied at 
GHQ Tokyo, had by late October 
suddenly surfaced in formidable 
numbers. By the end of the 
month, the Chinese had defeated 
the ROK II Corps on the right 
flank of uV tighth Army to the 
point of disintegration, exposing 
the next unit to the left, the U.S. I 
Corps. General Walker ordered a 
general withdrawal to the 
Chungchon River. The Chinese did 
not pursue but broke off their 
offensive as suddenly as it began. 

Separating the right flank of 
Eighth Army from X Corps was the 
Taebaek mountain range, the 
spine of the Korean peninsula and 
supposedly impassable to any sig- 
nificant number of troops. East of 
the Taebaek Mountains things 
seemed to continue to go well for 
General Almond and his X Corps. 
Almond did not appear to be per- 
turbed by General Walker's prob- 

Smith's Commanders and Staff 

Because of the widely dispersed 
missions assigned his 1st Marine 
Division, General Smith had divid- 
ed his command into regimental 
combat teams built around his 
three infantry regiments. RCT-5, 
under Lieutenant Colonel Ray- 
mond L. Murray, was assigned a 
zone behind Litzenberg's RCT-7. 
RCT-1, commanded by the leg- 
endary "Chesty" Puller, already the 
holder of four Navy Crosses, 
would remain for the time being in 
the vicinity of Wonsan fighting the 
remnants of one or more broken 
North Korean divisions struggling to 
get north. 

All three regimental comman- 
ders had been successful battalion 
commanders in World War II. 
Moreover, Puller had commanded 
the 1st Marines at Peleliu. Now in 
this new war, Murray, 37, had 
brought the 5th Marines to Korea in 
a pell-mell rush to play a fire- 
brigade role in the defense of the 
Pusan Perimeter. Puller, 52, had 
arrived from Camp Pendleton with 
the 1st Marines in time for the 
Inchon landing. Litzenberg had 
formed the 7th Marines at Camp 
Pendleton, California, in a matter of 
days and had gotten to Korea in 
time to join in the battle for Seoul. 
Litzenberg was called "Litz the 
Blitz" by some, but this was more 
an alliteration — and maybe a little 
derisive at that — rather than a 
description of his command style, 
which tended to be cautious and 
buttoned-up. Because of his close- 
ly cropped prematurely white hair, 
some of his irreverent young lieu- 
tenants, and perhaps a few of his 
captains and majors often referred 
him to, as the "Great White 

Murray, the junior regimental 
commander, was simply known as 
"Ray." Among Marines, who like to 
argue over such things, Murray's 

5th Marines, with the highest per- 
centage of regulars and the 
longest time in the fight, would 
probably have rated highest in 
combat effectiveness. The 1st 
Marines, with Chesty Puller as its 
commander, most likely would 
have rated second. The 7th 
Marines, last to arrive and with the 
highest percentage of reserves, 
still had to prove itself and would 
have come in third. 

Smith had a strong division 
staff: some members were already 
serving with the division when he 
took command and some that he 
had subsequently asked for. At the 
outbreak of the war Colonel Alpha 
L. Bowser, Jr., 40, had just been 
assigned as Force Inspector, Fleet 
Marine Force, Pacific. General 
Smith asked General Shepherd for 
his services as G-3 of the division. 
Shepherd assented and Bowser 
had become Smith's operational 
right-hand man. Bowser, Naval 
Academy 1932, had an enviable 
reputation in the Corps as a 
Quantico instructor, staff officer, 
expert in naval gunfire, and 
artillery battalion commander at 
Iwo Jima. He said later: "One of 
the major problems of the entire 
operation to the north of Wonsan 
was our open flank to the west. 
We never established contact with 
the right flank of the Eighth Army, 
and we had a great void out there 
which I at one time estimated to be 
somewhere in the neighborhood 
of 85 to 100 miles." 

In a 1971 interview by D. 
Clayton James, noted historian and 
biographer of MacArthur, Bowser 
gave his considered opinion of 
Almond's leadership: 

General Almond was prob- 
ably one of the most aggres- 
sive corps commanders I 
have ever seen in action. He 
was aggressive almost to a 
fault in my estimation. From 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5895 

For his brilliant staff work as division G-3, Col Alpha L. Bowser would later receive 
a Legion of Merit from MajGen Smith. Standing to Bowser's right is Col Bankson 
T. Holcomb, Jr., the division G-2, who received a similar decoration. These 
awards were made in January 1951. 

the standpoint of his own 
personal comfort and safety, 
he never gave it a thought. 
He was up at the front a great 
deal. He was what we 
referred to as a "hard charger." 

However, Bowser went on to 

I questioned his judgment 
on many occasions. ... I 
think that General Almond 
pictured this [campaign] in his 
mind's eye as a sweeping vic- 
tory that was in his grasp. But 
he gambled and he lost. ... A 
rather vain man in many 
ways. Ambitious. Could be a 
very warm personality as a 
personal friend. If he had one 
glaring fault, I would say it 
was inconsistency. 

Bowser was not the only star 
player on Smith's team. Virtually 
all of the senior members of 
Smith's general and special staff 

were combat-tested veterans of 
considerable reputation. 

Brigadier General Edward A. 
Craig, Smith's assistant division 
commander, now 54, had been 
commissioned in 1917, the same 
year as Shepherd and Smith. 
During the World War I years, 
while Smith was in garrison on 
Guam and Shepherd was winning 
laurels in France, Craig was fighting 
a kind of "cowboys and Indians" 
bush war against bandits in Haiti 
and Santo Domingo. In World War 
II he commanded the 9th Marines, 
first in training on Guadalcanal 
and then in combat on Bougain- 
ville and Guam — for the last he 
had a Navy Cross. He left the divi- 
sion in the summer of 1950 to 
command the 1st Provisional 
Marine Brigade in its adventures in 
the Pusan Perimeter, but rejoined 
the parent division in time for the 
Inchon landing. Like Smith, Craig 
was tall, slim, and prematurely 
white-haired. Smith, perhaps re- 
calling his own troubled period as 

the division's assistant division 
commander at Peleliu and being 
virtually ignored by the division 
commander, Major General 
William H. Rupertus, used Craig's 
services wisely and well, particu- 
larly as a roaming extension of his 
own eyes and ears. But Craig 
would be at home on emergency 
leave at a critical time in the cam- 

Smith's chief of staff, Colonel 
Gregon A. Williams, 54, had joined 
the division at Camp Pendleton in 
July. Before that he had been chief 
of staff of Fleet Marine Force, 
Pacific. A short, erect man, 
Williams had the reputation of 
being a "mean SOB." He had had 
a remarkable — but not unique for 
an officer of his vintage — career. 
He had enlisted in San Diego at 
the outbreak of World War I, but did 
not get to France, serving, in due 
time, in Santo Domingo, China, 

Col Gregon A. Williams, shown here as 
a brigadier general, was Smith's chief 
of staff . Seldom seen in the field by the 
troops, Williams ran the division staff 
and headquarters with an iron hand. 
Like many senior Marine officers, he 
had had considerable service in 
China, both before and during World 
War II. 

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A42833 


Haiti, and Nicaragua. As a sergeant 
he had been in the Dominican 
Guardia National as a local lieu- 
tenant. A young Dominican lieu- 
tenant, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, 
who would be the country's long- 
time dictator, became Williams' 
life-long friend. (The writer recalls 
that at the 1959 New Years recep- 
tion at the presidential palace, in 
what was then Ciudad Trujillo, the 
single ornament on the grand 
piano in the ballroom was a silver- 
framed photograph of Colonel 
Williams.) Service in Nicaragua 
brought him a Navy Cross. At the 
beginning of the Pacific War, as an 
assistant naval attache in Shang- 
hai, he was taken into custody by 
the Japanese and held as a prison- 
er until August 1942 when he was 
repatriated because of his diplo- 
matic status. Undaunted, he 
returned to China to the new 
Nationalist capital in Chungking 
where he became involved in the 
support of guerrilla operations. In 
the summer of 1944 he was sent to 
the Pacific to take command of the 
6th Marines, then involved in 
mopping-up on Saipan. He was a 
consummate chief of staff al- 
though not much loved by those 
who had to work for him. He got 
along famously with contempo- 
raries such as Craig, but he terrified 
junior officers. Bowser, after some 
rough spells, said that, "He and I 
came to a perfect relationship." 
According to Bowser, Williams 
"took no guff" from Almond or 
Almond's chief of staff. Williams 
stayed close to the command post. 
Murray recalled seeing him only 
five or six times during their 
respective tours in Korea and then 
only at the division headquarters. 

Much more visible to the com- 
mand than Williams — and much 
better liked — was the deputy chief 
of staff, Colonel Edward W. 
Snedeker, 47. By training a com- 
munications officer, Snedeker had 

been Craig's chief of staff during the 
fighting by the 1st Provisional 
Marine Brigade in the Pusan 
Perimeter. Snedeker, Naval Acad- 
emy 1926, had distinguished him- 
self in World War II with a Silver 
Star from Guadalcanal and a Navy 
Cross from Okinawa where he 
commanded the 7th Marines. 
Smith's personal relationship with 
Snedeker was much closer than it 
was with Williams. 

The G-l (Personnel), Lieutenant 
Colonel Harvey S. Walseth, 39, 
Naval Academy 1935, had served in 
China before World War II and 
was a tank officer at Guadalcanal 
and Iwo Jima. 

The G-2 (Intelligence), Colonel 
Bankson T. Holcomb, Jr., 42, 
movie-star handsome with his 
thin, clipped mustache and some- 
thing of a bon vivant, was an old 
China hand. The cousin of 
Thomas Holcomb, who was the 

Commandant of the Marine Corps 
during World War II and the first 
Marine to reach the grade of four- 
star general, Bankson T. Holcomb, 
Jr., had graduated from high 
school in Peiping in 1925 'and 
served two years as an enlisted 
man before going to the Naval 
Academy, Class of 1931. He 
returned to China in 1934 as an 
assistant to the naval attache and 
Chinese language student, fol- 
lowed by two years as a Japanese 
language student in Tokyo. His 
speaking and reading ability in 
both Chinese and Japanese was 
rated as "excellent." He was at 
Pearl Harbor as an intelligence 
officer in December 1941 when 
the Japanese struck. In 1943 he 
returned to China once again, this 
time to operate out of the 
Nationalist capital of Chungking 
with Chinese guerrillas. 

The G-4 (Logistics) Colonel 

In Januaiy 1951, Col Edward W. Snedeker would receive a second Legion of Merit 
from MajGen Smith for his outstanding performance of duty as the division's 
deputy chief of staff. Earlier, in the Pusan Perimeter, he had been chief of staff 
of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5897 


Chosin jXtaf ii 

logoru-n\ /lU ^ ^ J 

''-J ..-<* 

•tut. -MB 

^Toktong 1 
•«£ ^ Poss 

Cy* *^ ""' J ^ 

> » * , m £ ? c* 

OsST isoW/ I ,„„„ ^w* y//^=^ 

/?/>^ rs r;feT/'i r% 1 n #/ 

1 / \s«don, V0 ^|f^\ / 

T'w, ■% jit A\ „ - //<$'""'>,. ? - ^ 

\T ■" j J(/ A O&Moion-dong ^ A?,... X A 
fx *'I ^Sudong% slLT^r 


• bro-r 

The Main Supply Route 
of the 1st Marine Division 


' Homhung 


^onpo V 


Francis M. McAlister, 45 and Naval 
Academy 1927, had fought as an 
engineer at Bougainville, Guam, 
and Okinawa. Like most Marine 
officers of his generation, he had 
served in Nicaragua and China. 

Walseth, Holcomb, Bowser, and 
McAlister were the four pillars of 
the division's general staff. Bow- 
ser, the operations officer, and 
McAlister, the logistics chief, had a 
particularly close working partner- 

The much larger special staff 
ranged in grade from second lieu- 
tenant to colonel, from Second 
Lieutenant John M. Patrick, the 
historical officer, to Colonel James 
H. Brower, the division artillery 
officer. Most of the special staff 
were double-hatted; they also 
commanded the unit composed of 
their specialty. Brower commanded 
the division's artillery regiment, 
the 11th Marines, with three 
organic battalions of 105mm how- 
itzers, a battalion of 155mm how- 
itzers, and a battery of 4.5-inch 

Col James H. Brower was the division 
artillery officer and commanding 
officer of the 11th Marines. He fell ill at 
Hagaru-ri and was replaced in com- 
mand by his executive officer, LtCol 
Carl A. Youngdale. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4696 

multiple rockets. Brower, 42, was a 
Virginia Military Institute graduate, 
Class of 1931, who trained as an 
artilleryman at Fort Sill. During 
World War II he served as a staff 
officer with amphibious forces in 
the invasions of Sicily and Italy, 
but arrived in the Pacific in time for 

Forty-four-year old Lieutenant 
Colonel John H. Partridge, as the 
commander of the 1st Engineer 

Battalion, was the division engi- 
neer. His engineers would work 
prodigies during the campaign. 
Partridge, Naval Academy 1936, 
had been with the 4th Marine 
Division at Roi-Namur, Saipan, 
Tinian, and Iwo Jima. 

Smith and his staff, and his sub- 
ordinate commanders and their 
respective staffs, worked their way 
through new sets of maps, analyz- 
ing the terrain and divining lines of 


Distances in Road Miles 

Hungnam to Hamhung 8 

Hamhung to Oro-ri 8 

Oro-ri to Majon-dong 14 

Majon-dong to Sudong 7 

Sudong to Chinhung-ni 6 

Chinhung-ni to Koto-ri 10 

Koto-ri to Hagaru-ri 11 

Hagaru-ri to Yudam-ni 14 


communication. Hamhung and 
Hungnam, then and now, are 
often confused. Hungnam is the 
port; it lies on the north side of the 
Songchon River where it empties 
into the Japanese Sea. Yonpo, with 
its airfield, which would prove 
critical, is on the south side of the 
estuary. Hamhung is the inland 
rail and highway nexus, straddling 
the main rail line from Wonsan 
north. A narrow-gauge (2' 6") line 
also started at Hamhung to 
Chinhung-ni. From there it 
climbed by cable car, now inoper- 
ative, to a plateau in the shadow of 
the Taebek Mountains. A road par- 
alleled the narrow-gauge line. This 
would be the main supply route 
or "MSR" for the Marines' advance. 
The dirt-and-gravel road stretched 
78 miles from Hamhung to 
Yudam-ni, which, as yet, was just a 
name on a map. "In only a few 
weeks," says the Corps' official 
history, "it would be known to 
thousands of Marines as the MSR, as 
if there never had been another." 

RCT-7— with the 1st Motor 
Transport Battalion and Division 
Reconnaissance Company attach- 
ed — received a partial issue of 
cold weather clothing before mak- 
ing the move north by taick and rail 
during the last three days of 

Major Henry J. Woessner, 30, 

Naval Academy 1941, and opera- 
tions officer of the 7th Marines, 
was at X Corps command post in 
Wonsan on 30 October when 
General Almond, standing before 
the Corps situation map, briefed 
General Barr on the upcoming 
operation. Barr's division was to 
push north to Hyesanjin on the 
Yalu. The 1st Marine Division was 
to reach the border by way of 
Chinhung-ni, Koto-ri, and Hagaru- 
ri. After describing this twin- 
pronged thrust to the Yalu, 
Almond again turned to the situa- 
tion map. "When we have cleared 
all this out," he said with a broad 
sweep of his hand, "the ROKs will 
take over, and we will pull our 
divisions out of Korea." 

Before leaving the command 
post, Woessner talked to an Army 
liaison officer who had just 
returned from the ROK 26th 
Regiment up near Sudong. The 
Army officer told him that the 
ROKs had collided with a Chinese 
force and had been driven back. 
Colonel Edward H. Forney, 
Almond's Marine Corps deputy 
chief of staff, arranged for 
Woessner to fly over the objective 
area in an Air Force North 
American T-6 Texan. Woessner saw 
no enemy on the flight to and over 
Hagaru-ri, but the rugged nature of 
the terrain impressed him. 

Woessner, on his return that 
afternoon to the 7th Marines com- 
mand post, made his report to 
Colonel Litzenberg who in turn 
called in his officers and noncom- 
missioned officers and told them 
that they might soon be fighting 
the first battle of World War III. 
"We can expect to meet Chinese 
Communist troops," he said, "and it 
is important that we win the first 

RCT-7 was scheduled to relieve 
the ROK 26th Regiment, 3d 
Division, in the vicinity of Sudong 
on 2 November. Litzenberg on 31 
October cautiously sent out recon- 
naissance patrols from Hamhung 
to explore the route northward. 
One of the patrols from the 1st 
Battalion, 7th Marines — Captain 
Myron E. Wilcox, Jr., two lieu- 
tenants, three jeeps, and a fire 
team — reached the command post 
of the 26th Regiment near Sudong. 
Wilcox reported to Litzenberg that 
while there they had seen a 
Chinese prisoner. The South 
Koreans told Wilcox and his patrol 
that they had taken 16 Chinese 
prisoners and had identified them 
as belonging to the 124th Chinese 
Communist Force (CCF) Division. 
The prisoners said they had 
crossed the Yalu in mid-October. 

Further interrogation of the 16 
prisoners had yielded that they 
were members of the 370th 
Regiment of the 124th CCF 
Division, which along with the 
125th and 126th Divisions, made 
up the 42d CCF Army. Roughly 
speaking, a Chinese army was the 
equivalent of a U.S. corps. On 
arriving from the Yalu, the 124th 
had deployed in the center to 
defend the Chosin Reservoir, the 
126th had moved east to the vicin- 
ity of the Fusen Reservoir, and the 
125th to the western flank on the 


Photo by Cpl Alex Klein, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC351718 
Marines on 31 October saw for themselves the first Chinese prisoners taken by ROK 
I Corps. These prisoners, identified as belonging to the 124th CCF Division, are 
wearing padded winter uniforms that offered little or no protection for the feet 
and hands, and the weather was about to turn cold. 

Airfield, five miles southwest of 

Wednesday, 1 November 

As yet the Marines had encoun- 
tered no enemy anywhere along 
the MSR from Wonsan north to 
Hamhung; but Litzenberg was cer- 
tain that he soon would be facing 
Chinese adversaries. On the fol- 
lowing day, 1 November, he sent a 
stronger patrol from the attached 
division Reconnaissance Company 
to reconnoiter the Huksu-ri area 
about 45 miles northwest of 
Hungnam. This patrol, mounted in 
21 jeeps and under First 
Lieutenant Ralph B. Crossman, 
after running into a small North 
Korean guerrilla force about three 
miles short of its objective, dug in 
for the night. 

Meanwhile, the Marines began 
hearing rumors that the Eighth 
Army's 1st Cavalry Division — 
which they had last seen when the 
1st Cavalry passed through the 
Marine lines north of Seoul headed 
for the successful capture of 
Pyongyang, the North Korean cap- 
ital — was in serious trouble. If 
division headquarters had more 

right of the 124th Division. 

Continuing the northward 
movement of his division from 
Wonsan, Smith ordered Murray to 
advance a battalion of the 5th 
Marines to Chigyong, eight miles 
southwest of Hamhung. Murray 
sent his 1st Battalion under 
Lieutenant Colonel George R. 
Newton. Newton, 35, Naval 
Academy 1938, had been a com- 
pany commander in the Embassy 
Guard at Peiping in 1941 and 
spent World War II as a prisoner of 
war. Now, as a battalion comman- 
der, he had done well at Pusan 
and Inchon. One of Newton's 
companies was detached to 
relieve a company of the 7th 
Marines that was guarding Yonpo 

A 3-5-inch rocket section with Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, holds a 
position outside Hamhung on 31 October. The next day the 7th Marines would 
begin its march northward to relieve the 26th ROK Regiment near Sudong-ni. 

Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5129 


Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4525 
The 7th Marines began its motor march north from Hungnam. on 1 November. 
A cautious Col Homer Litzenberg ordered LtCol Raymond G, Davis, command- 
ing officer of the 1st Battalion, to reconnoiter to his front. Davis' Marines moved 
forward on foot. A crackle of small arms fire caused the column to halt momen- 
tarily. A full issue of cold-weather clothing has not yet been received. Only one 
Marine is wearing a parka. 

definitive information, it did not 
filter down to the troops. Some 60 
miles to the Marines' west in the 
Eighth Army zone of action, the 
Chinese had roughly handled the 
8th U.S. Cavalry Regiment and the 
ROK 6th Division during the last 
days of October, but this had little 
or no effect on Almond's plans. 
Litzenberg's orders to advance 
remained unchanged. His first 
objective was to be Koto-ri. 

During the day on 1 November, 
the 7th Marines made a motor 
march from Hungnam to an 
assembly area behind the ROK 
26th Regiment, midway between 
Oro-ri and Majon-dong, without 
incident. Nevertheless, a cautious 
Litzenberg ordered Lieutenant 
Colonel Raymond G. Davis, 35, 
Georgia Tech 1938, to make a 
reconnaissance-in-force to South 
Korean positions north of Majon- 
dong with his 1st Battalion, 7th 
Marines. In World War II, Davis 
had commanded a heavy weapons 
company at Guadalcanal and an 

infantry battalion at Peleliu. The 
latter battle brought him a Navy 

Late in the afternoon the regi- 
mental combat team curled up 
into a tight perimeter for the night. 
As part of RCT-7, Litzenberg had 
Major Francis F. "Fox" Parry's 3d 
Battalion, 11th Marines; the divi- 
sion Reconnaissance Company 
under Lieutenant Crossman; Com- 
pany D, 1st Engineer Battalion, 
Captain Byron C, Turner; Com- 
pany E, 1st Medical Battalion, 
under Lieutenant Commander 
Charles K. Holloway; detachments 
from the division's Signal Battal- 
ion, Service Battalion, and Military 
Police Company; and most of the 
1st Motor Transport Battalion, 
Lieutenant Colonel Olin L. Beall. 

Thursday, 2 November 

The ROK 26th Regiment, await- 
ing relief, had withdrawn to a 
position about four miles south of 
Suclong. Early on the morning of 2 

November, the South Koreans 
were probed by a CCF combat 
patrol estimated to be about two 
platoons in strength. Later that 
morning, Davis' 1st Battalion led 
the way out of the 7th Marines' 
perimeter toward the ROK lines at 
Majon-dong. Major Webb D. 
"Buzz" Sawyer, 32, followed with 
the 2d Battalion. A graduate of the 
University of Toledo, Sawyer had 
been commissioned in 1941. 
During World War II, as a captain 
and major he served with the 4th 
Marine Division at Roi-Namur, 
Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. 
Afterward, as an instructor at 
Quantico, he was known as an 
expert in the reduction of fortified 

Corsairs from Marine fighter 
squadron VMF-312 flew cover for 
what was essentially a parade 
northward. The passage of lines 
with the ROKs was over by 1030. 
The point, Company A, under 
Captain David W. Banks, took 
some scattered long-range fire and 
suffered a few casualties. Resis- 
tance thickened. 

Major "Fox" Parry, 32, com- 
manding the 3d Battalion, 11th 
Marines, was a Naval Academy 
graduate, Class of 1941. He had 
been the executive officer of an 
artillery battalion during Okinawa 
and immediately before Korea he 
had taken the yearlong Advanced 
Artillery Course at Fort Sill. At 
noon Battery I of Parry's artillery 
battalion fired the first of 26 fire 
missions covering the advance that 
would be shot during the day. 

VMF-312, commanded by Lieu- 
tenant Colonel J. Frank Cole, flew 
12 close air support missions and, 
as the light failed, night-fighter 
squadron VMF(N)-513, under 
Major J. Hunter Reinburg, deliv- 
ered a few more. 

Both Cole and Reinburg were 
experienced squadron comman- 
ders. Cole, 35, had entered the 


Photo by Cp] Peter W. McDonald, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4549 

Guns of Ma] Francis F. "Fox" Parry's 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, covered the 
advance of the 7th Marines to Sudong. Here a 105mm howitzer from Capt 
Samuel A. Hannah's Battery G, laid for high -angle fire, awaits afire mission. First 
artillery missions, shot on 2 November, alternated with close air support strikes 
by Marine Corsairs. 

Marine Corps from the University of 
Nebraska in 1939 and had com- 
manded fighter squadron VMF-111 
in the Central Pacific and VMF-312 
at Okinawa. Reinburg, 32, was the 
stepson of Marine Corps aviation 
great Lieutenant General Clayton 
C. Jerome. Reinburg had enlisted in 
the Naval Reserve in 1936 and 
transferred to the Marine Corps as 
an aviation cadet in 1940. Flying as 
a captain in the Solomons he 
became an ace, shooting down 
seven Japanese planes and 
destroying seven more on the 
ground. Before taking command 
of VMF(N)-513 he had spent a 
year as an exchange pilot flying 
night fighters with the British 
Royal Air Force. Technically, 
Marine fighter-bomber squadrons 
designated as "VMF(N)" were all- 
weather squadrons, but the "N" 
universally caused them to be 
called "night fighters." Reinburg's 
squadron flew twin-engine Grum- 
man F7F-3Ns Tigercats 

The main body of RCT-7, moving 
along the road in what Litzenberg 
called a "walking perimeter," had 
advanced just short of a mile by 
nightfall. Davis' 1st Battalion's 
nighttime positions were less than 

a mile south of Sudong, stretching 
across the valley from high ground 
to high ground. Behind him was 
Sawyer 's battalion similarly dis- 
posed. Sawyer was responsible for 
the high ground on both sides of 
the line of march. Captain Milton A. 
Hull, 30, commanding Company 
D, had some problems going up 
Hill 698 on the left hand side of the 
road. (Hills and mountains — both 
always called "hills" — were desig- 
nated by their height in meters 
above sea level. Thus Hill 698 
would be 698 meters or 2,290 feet 
in height.) A ROK company had 
precipitously given up its hillside 
position. The South Koreans, as 
they passed hurriedly southward, 
pointed back over their shoulders 
exclaiming "Chinese!" 

Hull, a University of Florida 
graduate, had been commissioned 
in 1942 and had spent a good part 
of the war in China with the guer- 
rillas, possibly with some of the 
same Chinese soldiers he was now 
fighting. Easy Company, under 
Captain Walter D. Phillips, Jr., 
passed through Hull's Dog 
Company to complete the fight, 
getting almost to the crest just 

Col Homer Litzenberg called his road march a "walking perimeter. " Here a part 
of the column pauses off the road, while Marine artillery and air pound the hills 
ahead. At nightfall on 2 November, LtCol Ramond Davis ' 1st Battalion, lead ele- 
ment of the main body, halted one mile short of Sudong. 

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4498 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4438 

These Marines are members of Company D, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines. By 2 
November, LtCol Raymond L. Murray's regiment had moved up by train to 
Hamhung with orders to patrol between Hamhung and Chigyong. Two days later 
the 3d Battalion was positioned near Oro-ri and the 2d Battalion was sent into 
Sinhung Valley. The 1st Battalion remained at Chigyong. 

before midnight. (Rifle companies 
were almost invariably called by 
their name in the phonetic alphabet 
of the time: "Dog," "Easy," "Fox," 
and so on.) Farther to the rear was 
Major Maurice E. Roach's 3d 
Battalion, in a perimeter of its 
own, protecting the regimental 

That morning, 2 November, 
Smith had met again with Almond. 
The 2d and 3d Battalions of the 
5th Marines were moving by train 
to Hamhung. The 1st Battalion had 
already gone northward. Smith 
pointed out that the main supply 
route from Wonsan would be left 
exposed to guerrilla attack. 
Almond was not disturbed. He 
said that patrols could handle the 
guerrilla situation. Puller's 1st 
Marines, supported by elements of 
the 1st Tank Battalion, was given 
the responsibility from Wonsan 
northward to as far as Munchon. 
Murray's 5th Marines would patrol 
south from Hungnam to Chigyong. 
This left 54 miles from Chigyong 
south to Munchon uncovered 
except for light patrolling by 

Almond's Special Operations 
Company and a handful of South 
Korean counterintelligence agents. 
Puller returned to Wonsan at 

midday on 2 November with his 
1st Battalion. The 2d Battalion 
came back from Kojo-ri the fol- 
lowing day. The 3d Battalion, 1st 
Marines, was still heavily engaged 
at Majon-ni, 26 miles west of 

Friday, 3 November 

Litzenberg did not know it, but 
he was two-thirds surrounded by 
the 124th CCF Division. The 371st 
Regiment was in the hills to his 
north and west. The 370th Reg- 
iment was to his east. Somewhere 
behind these assault regiments, 
the 3 72d Regiment stood ready in 

By midnight on 2 November the 
1st and 2d Battalions of the 7th 
Marines were being probed. An 
hour later both battalions were 
bending back from the weight of 
assaults on their flanks and 
Marines became acquainted with 
the Chinese habit of using flares 

By 3 November, the 7th Marines was surrounded on three sides by the Chinese 
124th Division. Fighting grew fierce and casualties mounted. A sturdy mason- 
ry building in the shadow of high-tension lines coming down from the hydroelectric 
plant on the Changjin plateau became a battalion aid station. 

Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4541 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4489 
MajGen Smith used his assistant divi- 
sion commander, BGen Edward A. 
Craig, as his roving eyes and ears. 
Here, on 3 November, Craig, left, 
checks with Col Litzenberg whose 7th 
Marines had just made its first solid 
contact with the Chinese. Litzenberg is 
digging away at a half-size can of C- 
ration, probably canned fruit, a 

and bugle calls to signal their 

On the MSR, the roadblock in 
front of Able Company let a T-34 
tank go by, thinking it was a 
friendly bulldozer. The single tank 
pushed through the company 
headquarters area and on through 
the battalion's 81mm mortar posi- 
tion, reaching Davis' command 
post. The startled Marines engaged 
the tank with rocket launchers and 
recoilless rifles; the tank took one 
or two hits and then turned 
around and headed north. 

All three of Davis' rifle compa- 
nies suffered heavy casualties as 
the night went on. The Chinese 
attackers got down to the road and 
wedged their way between the 2d 
and 3d Battalions. The regiment's 
4.2-inch Mortar Company was 
overrun and lost one of its tubes. 
When morning came a confused 
situation faced the Marines. The 
Chinese were still in the valley. 

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4501 
Chinese prisoners, taken by Col Litzenberg 's 7th Marines in the 3-4 November fight- 
ing, were identified as being members of the 370th and 371st Regiments of the 
124th Division. Chinese Communist "volunteers" fought well, but were surpris- 
ingly docile and uncomplaining once captured. 

Getting rid of them would be an all- 
day effort. At first light Cole's 
VMF-312 came overhead with its 
Corsairs and was joined in mid- 
morning by Reinburg's Tigercats, 
pounding away with rockets, frag- 
mentation bombs, and cannon 
fire. Parry's howitzers rendered 
yeoman service; before the end of 
the day his 18 guns had fired 49 
missions delivering 1,431 105mm 
rounds. At closer range, Marine 
riflemen flushed out the Chinese 
enemy, fragmented now into indi- 
viduals and small groups. 

This would be Reinburg's last 
show. On 4 November he relin- 
quished command of VMF(N)-513 
to Ohio-born Lieutenant Colonel 
David C. Wolfe, 33, Naval Acad- 
emy, Class of 1940. A big, athletic 
man, Wolfe had taken flight training 
as a captain and had commanded 
scout-bomber squadron VMB-433 
in the Southwest Pacific during 
World War II. 

The 1st Battalion counted 662 

enemy dead in its zone of action. 
The 2d Battalion did not make a 
precise count but could not have 
been far behind. When Marine 
trucks came up with resupply, 
they carried back to Hungnam 
about 100 wounded Marines. 
Total Marine casualties for the two 
days — 2 and 3 November — were 
44 killed, 5 died of wounds, 1 
missing, and 162 wounded, most of 
them in the 7th Marines. 

As recorded in the official histo- 
ry by Lynn Montross and Nicholas 
A. Canzona, a tactical principle 
was emerging: "To nullify Chinese 
night attacks, regardless of large- 
scale penetrations and infiltration, 
defending units had only to main- 
tain position until daybreak. With 
observation restored, Marine fire- 
power invariably would melt 
down the Chinese mass to impo- 
tency." It was a principle that 
would serve the Marines well, time 
after time, in the coming several 


Photo by Cpl L. B. Snyder, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4463 
BGen Edward Craig, on the left and wearing a Marine "fore-and-aft" cap, and 
MajGen Edward Almond, on the right with map case and wearing an Army cap, 
went forward to the 7th Marines command post to see for themselves the Chinese 
prisoners that had been taken. Col Homer Litzenberg, the regimental comman- 
der, is talking with BGen Craig. 

ing the night of 3-4 November. 
The perimeters were peppered 
The 7th Marines' positions lightly, but there were no further 
remained essentially the same dur- Chinese assaults. Later it was 

Wounded Marines arrive at the battalion aid station of Maj Webb D. "Buzz" 
Sawyer's 2d Battalion, 7th Marines. Helicopter evacuation was still the exception 
rather than the rule. Most wounded Marines were hand-carried down to the clos- 
est road and then moved by jeep to the nearest aid station. Here they would be 
sorted out ("triage") and sent to the rear for more definitive treatment. 

Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4546 

learned that the 370th and 371st 
CCF Regiments were withdrawing to 
a defensive line, established by the 
372d Regiment about two miles 
north of Chinhung-ni, stretching 
from Hill 987 to Hill 891. 

Litzenberg ordered increased 
patrolling to the north to begin at 
dawn on 4 November. Marines 
from Davis' 1st Battalion patrolled 
to the edge of Sudong, met no 
resistance, and returned to their 
perimeter. Crossman's Reconnais- 
sance Company moved out in its 
jeeps at 0800. First Lieutenant 
Ernest C. Hargett took the point 
into Sudong and met a party of 
Chinese in the middle of the town. 
Hargett's men killed three and 
took 20 more as willing prisoners. 
Crossman now put Second Lieu- 
tenant Donald W. Sharon's 2d pla- 
toon into the point with the 1st 
Battalion coming behind them into 

The North Korean People's 
Army (NKPA) skeleton 344th Tank 
Regiment, down to five Soviet- 
built T-34 tanks and apparently 
unable to negotiate Funchilin Pass, 
had been left on the low ground to 
fend for itself. One T-34 was aban- 
doned after being damaged in its 
wild one-tank attack against the 
7th Marines command post. The 
remaining four tanks took covered 
positions off the road. Sharon 
passed by the first hidden T-34 but 
bumped into the second. He and 
two of his Marines damaged the 
tank with hand grenades. Charlie 
Company, 7th Marines, with its 
own 3.5-inch rockets and rein- 
forced with a section of 75mm 
recoilless rifles, came on the scene 
and finished off the second tank. A 
third tank emerged from a 
thatched hut. Engaged by both 
rocket launchers and recoilless 
rifles, the tank continued to move 
until stopped by the 5-inch rockets 
of a flight of Corsairs. The Marines 
now found the bypassed first tank. 


Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4496 

Bodies of dead Marines, covered with ponchos and shelter halves, await further 
disposition. The 7th Marines fight at Sudong lasted three days, 2-4 November. 
Division casualties for the period, nearly all of them in the 7th Marines, totaled 
61 killed in action, 9 died of wounds, 162 wounded, and 1 missing in action. 

After receiving fire, the crew sur- 
rendered their tank and them- 
selves. The fourth tank, now 
alone, surrendered without a fight. 
The 344th NKPA Tank Regiment 
was no more. Litzenberg, having 
advanced almost four miles by 
mid-afternoon, ordered his regi- 
ment to halt for the night in a tight 
perimeter at Chinhung-ni. 

For the first 43 miles north from 
Hungnam the 1st Marine Di- 
vision's MSR was a two-lane high- 
way passing through relatively flat 
terrain. At Chinhung-ni the road 
narrowed to one lane as it went 
up Funchilin Pass, climbing 2,500 
feet in eight miles of zigzagging 
single-lane road clinging to the 
sides of the mountains; "a cliff on 
one side and a chasm on the 
other" as the official history 
described it. The narrow gauge 
railroad was operable as far as 
Chinhung-ni and it was decided to 
establish a railhead there. 

The division Reconnaissance 
Company was ordered to move 

forward another mile, on up into 
Funchilin Pass, and outpost the 
southern tip of Hill 891. With 

Second Lieutenant Charles R. 
Puckett's 3d Platoon out in front, 
the reconnaissance Marines 
moved almost into the saddle sep- 
arating Hills 987 and 891, already 
inconveniently occupied by the 
Chinese. A firefight developed. 
The company held its ground but 
lost two Marines killed, five 
wounded, and two jeeps des- 

On 4 November, Smith shifted 
his command post from Wonsan to 
Hungnam, occupying an aban- 
doned engineering college on the 
outskirts of the city. In reconnoi- 
tering for the site, Smith's assistant 
division commander, Brigadier 
General Craig had been treated to 
the sight of 200 dead Koreans laid 
out in a row, executed by the 
Communists for no apparent rea- 
son. Smith flew to Hungnam by 
helicopter and occupied the new 
command post at about 1100. Most 
of his headquarters arrived by rail 
that evening, an uneventful trip 
except for a few scattered rifle 

The 7th Marines entered Sudong on 4 November. Beyond Sudong the main sup- 
ply route began its climb into Funchilin Pass. Here, a Marine patrol, troubled by 
a sniper, searches out a hamlet of thatched-roofed, mud-wattle huts. 

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4537 


Sketch by Sgt Ralph Schofield, USMCR 
A Marine sniper draws a bead on a distant Chinese enemy. This sketch, and 
numerous others that follow, are by Cpl (later Sgt) Ralph H. Schofield, a talent- 
ed Marine Corps reservist from Salt Lake City, who served as a Leatherneck mag- 
azine combat artist. A seasoned veteran of World War II, Schofield had fought 
as an infantryman in the South Pacific. 

War II in the battleships Maryland 
(BB 46) and Alabama (BB 60). 
The 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, was 
his first infantiy command and he 
had done well with it at Pusan, 
Inchon, and Seoul. His mission 
now was to block the Sinhung cor- 
ridor and to find a northerly route 
to either the Chosin Reservoir or to 
the reservoir known to the 
Marines by its Japanese name 
"Fusen." The Korean name was 
"Pujon." Roise's mission carried 
him away from 1st Marine 
Division's axis of advance and into 
the zone of the 7th Infantry 

w iili ~ih Marines, 
5-6 November 

Early on Sunday morning, 5 
November, the Major Roach's 3d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, passed 
through the 1st Battalion to con- 

shots. The larger part of his head- 
quarters would remain in place in 
Hungnam for the duration of the 

To the south of the 7th Marines, 
the battalions of Murray's RCT-5 
were having their own adventures. 
"Our first assignment was to go to 
the east side of the reservoir," 
remembered Murray. "I wondered, 
why are they splitting us up like 
this?" By 4 November, the 1st 
Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel 
George R. Newton) had been left 
behind at Chigyong and detached 
to division control. The 3d 
Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel 
Robert D. "Tap" Taplett) was posi- 
tioned near Oro-ri. The 2d 
Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel 
Harold S. Roise) had been sent 
into Sinhung Valley, five miles 
north and 15 miles east of the 7th 
Marines, to relieve the ROK 18th 
Regiment. The relief was accom- 
plished without incident. Roise, 
34, from Idaho, had spent World 

SSgt Meyer Rossum triumphantly displays a poster of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin 
found in a by-passed Chinese bunker in the vicinity of Funchilin Pass. Marines 
would learn that the Chinese, despite problems of weather and terrain, were avid 
diggers and experts at field fortification. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4807 



tinue the advance up Funchilin 
Pass. Hargett's reconnaissance pla- 
toon led the way. Rounding a hair- 
pin turn, Hargett ran into Chinese 
fire and had four more Marines 
wounded. The 3d Battalion moved 
into the attack. Item Company was 
given Hill 987 and George Com- 
pany Hill 891 as their objectives. 
Both were stopped by mid-morning 
by heavy small arms and machine 
gun fire. For the rest of the day the 
battle continued as a duel between 
Parry's 105mm howitzers and 
Chinese 120mm heavy mortars. 
From overhead, the Corsairs of 
VMF-312 delivered 37 close air 
support sorties. 

At the top of the pass the road 
flattened onto a plateau and ran 
for two miles until it reached the vil- 
lage of Koto-ri where it rejoined 
the now-abandoned narrow gauge 
railroad. During the day General 
Smith gave Litzenberg the objec- 
tive of reaching Koto-ri. 

Roach's 3d Battalion continued 
the attack the next morning. How 
Company, under First Lieutenant 
Howard H. Harris, was to pass 
through George Company and 
move up the southern tip of Hill 
891. Item Company, under First 
Lieutenant William E. Johnson, 
was to continue its attack against 
Hill 987. Both attacks went slowly, 
with the assaults not getting 
underway until mid-afternoon. 

Second Lieutenant Robert D. 
Reem, leading one of How Com- 
pany's platoons in the final assault, 
threw himself on a Chinese 
grenade and was killed. Harris 
radioed Roach that his company 
was exhausted. Roach relayed the 
report to Litzenberg who ordered 
the company to disengage and 
withdraw. Next morning, 7 
November, Roach's battalion again 
moved up the slopes of both Hills 
891 and 987, and this time found 
them empty of enemy. The 
Chinese had disappeared during 

the night. For most of the next 
three weeks traffic northward on 
the MSR would be unimpeded. 

Operations North of Wonsan, 
4-9 November 

Meanwhile, in accordance with 
Almond's decision on 3 Novem- 
ber, X Corps troops and the 1st 
Marine Division continued to 
share the responsibility for the 
Wonsan-Hungnam MSR. Ope- 
ration of the Wonsan-Hamhung 
rail line came under X Corps 
Railway Transportation Section. 
The division began sending sup- 
ply trains north daily from 
Wonsan. For two days they got 
through unmolested, but on the 
third day, 6 November, the train 
was halted at Kowan by torn-up 
rails. North Korean guerrillas then 
attacked the train, which was 
guarded by 39 Marines from 
Charlie Company of the 1st 
Amphibian Tractor Battalion. Ta- 
ken by surprise, eight Marines 
were killed, two wounded, at the 
outset. Six more Marines were 
wounded in the ensuing firefight. 
The guard then broke off action 
and found protection within the 
perimeter of an Army artillery bat- 

Smith was promised the use of 
the Army's newly arrived 65th 
Regimental Combat Team to guard 
bridges and other key points along 
the route. Rail service from 
Wonsan to Hamhung was resumed 
on 9 November with the caution 
that passengers were to ride only in 
open gondola cars. Their steel 
sides promised some order of pro- 
tection from small arms fire and 
mortar fragments. While Marines 
rattled northward in gondola cars, 
MacArthur on 9 November in- 
formed the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
that complete victory was still pos- 
sible and reiterated his belief that 
U.S. air power would prevent the 

Chinese from crossing the Yalu in 
decisive numbers. 

Arrival of 3d Infantry Division 

The Army's 3d Infantry Division, 
its ranks hastily filled out with 
South Koreans, began arriving at 
Wonsan in early November. Major 
General Robert H. "Shorty" Soule, 
the division commander, was a 
paratrooper who had fought with 
the 11th Airborne Division under 
MacArthur in the Southwest Pa- 
cific. The first regiment of Soule's 
division to land was the 65th 
Infantry, made up largely of 
Puerto Ricans, on 5 November. 
Almond came, looked, and said he 
"didn't have much confidence in 
these colored troops." 

During World War II, Almond 
had commanded the U.S. 92d 
Infantry Division which had 
almost all white officers but black 
rank-and-file. The division had 
turned in a mixed performance in 
Italy. Almond's prejudices were 
typical of his generation and 
Southern background. The regi- 
mental commander, Colonel Wil- 
liam W. Harris, West Point 1930, 
protested that most of his men 
were not "colored," but "white." 
Almond, unconvinced of the 65th 
RCT's reliability, told Harris that he 
was going to send the regiment 
north to Yonghung and then west 
across the mountains to make con- 
tact with the Eighth Army's right 
flank. Harris was appalled by 
these orders. 

The 1st Shore Party Battalion, 
under command of legendary 
Lieutenant Colonel Henry P. "Jim" 
Crowe, 51, stayed behind at 
Wonsan to help the 3d Infantry 
Division land and unload. Crowe 
had enlisted during World War I 
and had a fabled career as football 
player, team shot, and bandit fight- 
er, reaching the highly prized war- 
rant grade of Marine gunner in 


Photo by Cpl L. B. Snyder, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4620 

LtCol Raymond Davis' 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, occupied Koto-ri on the 
Marine Corps Birthday, 10 November, against no resistance. A day later need- 
ed replacements arrived. One or two battalion-sized replacement drafts arrived 
in Korea each month to keep the division's ranks — particularly the infantry 
units — at fighting strength. 

1934. He had a Silver Star from 
Guadalcanal and a Navy Cross 
from Tarawa where he command- 
ed a battalion as a major. He 
thought Soule "one of the finest 
men" he ever met, but he found 
Almond "haughty." 

S1I1 Marines Operations, 
5-8 November 

There was now clear evidence 
that the Chinese, and some North 
Koreans, were out in front of 
Roise's 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, in 
Sinhung Valley but keeping their 
distance. Northwest of Sinhung 
itself and about 10 miles due east of 
Koto-ri, Dog Company captured a 
stray Chinese soldier found sleep- 
ing in a house. He proved to be a 
wealth of information. He said that 
he belonged to the 126th CCF 
Division. He asserted that six CCF 
armies had arrived in North Korea 
and that a total of 24 divisions had 
been committed to the interven- 
tion. He had learned this in a 
series of lectures given by political 
officers to his regiment after it had 
crossed the border. 

Smith conferred with Almond 
on the afternoon of 7 November. 
"He apparently has been some- 
what sobered by the situation on 
the 8th Army front, which is not 
very good," Smith entered into his 
log. Almond promised Smith that he 
would let him concentrate the 1st 
Marine Division. 

The 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 
remained at Chigyong. On 7 
November, Major Merlin R. Olson, 
32, the battalion's executive offi- 
cer, with Companies A and B 
reconnoitered in force west of 
Oro-ri to Huksu-ri. On the 8th, still 
short of his objective, Olson ran 
into a North Korean force, estimat- 
ed at 2,000, and was recalled. 

Meanwhile, Roise's patrols had 
found no useable road to either 
Chosin or Fusen Reservoirs but 

had learned that the road leading 
northeast to the Manchurian border, 
into the zone assigned to the U.S. 
7th Infantry Division, could bear 
military traffic. One of his patrols 
touched a patrol from the 31st 
Infantry on 8 November. Smith 
had an understanding with 
Almond that if the 5th Marines 
could not get to the Fusen 
Reservoir by road, Barr's 7th 
Infantry Division would attempt to 
reach it from the east. 

~th Marines Operations. 
8- 1 1 November 

On 8 November General Al- 
mond visited the 7th Marines. On 
learning that Captain Thomas E. 
Cooney, commander of George 
Company, had been twice slightly 
wounded on Hill 891, he awarded 
Cooney an on-the-spot Silver Star. 
His aide was caught without a 
supply of medals. Almond scrib- 
bled a note on a piece of paper — 
"Silver Star for Gallantry in 
Action" — and pinned it to Coon- 
ey's jacket. 

A patrol of 15 Marines under 

First Lieutenant William F. Goggin 
of the 2d Battalion left Chinhung-ni 
at noon on 8 November, reached 
Koto-ri, and next evening returned 
unscathed to the lines of the 3d 
Battalion. Next day, 10 November 
and the Marine Corps Birthday, 
the 1st Battalion passed through 
the 3d Battalion and an hour-and- 
a-half later entered Koto-ri. 

X Corps issued an order attach- 
ing the 65th Infantry and the ROK 
26th Regiment to the 1st Marine 
Division. Two battalions of South 
Korean Marines were also to be 
attached. On receiving the order 
Smith learned that he was respon- 
sible for making contact with the 
Eighth Army. He gave orders to 
that effect to the 65th Infantry and 
was annoyed to find that Almond 
had already given the regiment's 
commander, Colonel Harris, 
detailed instructions down to the 
company level as to what to do. 
Something of the same happened 
with regards to the mission of the 
ROK 26th Regiment. "Such a pro- 
cedure, of course, only creates 
confusion," Smith fussed in his 
log. "It was this type of procedure 


Photo by Sgt John Babyak, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4562 
At division headquarters at Hamhung, MajGen Smith observed the Marine Corps 
Birthday in traditional fashion. He read the birthday message from the Marine 
Corps Manual and then cut the somewhat meager cake with a Korean sword. As 
tradition prescribes, the first slice went to the oldest Marine present, BGen Craig. 

which I protested to General 
Almond in connection with direct 
orders given to my regiments." To 
Smith's further annoyance, he was 
ordered to provide a rifle company 
to guard X Corps command post at 
Hamhung. The order was passed to 
the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, for 
execution. Taplett received it with 
"surprise and disgust," not under- 
standing why a headquarters with 
about 2,000 troops needed extra 
security so far behind the lines of 
advance. He detailed Item Com- 
pany under Captain Harold G. 
Schrier to do the job — the same 
Schrier who as a lieutenant had 
taken his platoon up Mount 
Suribachi on Iwo Jima to raise the 
first flag. 

That evening there was a 
Marine Corps Birthday party in 
General Smith's mess attended by 
his staff. Punch and cake were 
served. Smith entered in his log: "I 
read the paragraphs from the 
Marine Corps Manual and then cut 
the cake with a Korean sword." 

The weather had turned terrifi- 

cally cold up on the plateau, well 
below zero at night. Platoon 
warming tents were set up in 

Koto-ri, a hapless little hamlet. As 
the official history observed, the 
cold seemed "to numb the spirit as 
well as the flesh." On the 11th, 
Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th 
Marines, had a fight in which it 
lost four Marines killed, four 
wounded, and claimed 40 enemy 
casualties. Otherwise the enemy 
seemed to have vanished. 

Sth Marines Operations, 
9-13 November 

Murray received orders on 9 
November to concentrate his regi- 
ment on the MSR leading to 
Chosin Reservoir. Newton's 1st 
Battalion, coming out of Chigyong 
on 10 November, was to move to 
Majon-dong. A patrol sent forward 
from Newton's battalion was 
ambushed and had to be rescued 
with a battalion-sized attack 
before the battalion could get to 
the village. On the 13th, another 
patrol from the 1st Battalion, 5th 

Col "Chesty" Puller cuts the Marine Corps Birthday cake on 10 November at his 
1st Marines regimental headquarters outside Wonsan where the weather was still 
pleasant. Far to the north, on the Chosin plateau, the 7th Marines was already 
encountering sub-zero temperatures. 

Photo by Cp] W. T. Wolfe, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4571 

•r * 


Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4628 
On 12 November the villagers at Koto-ri were informed that they have been "lib- 
erated" and were now free to elect their own village officials. The large number 
of Korean civilians, who would later crowd into the Marines' defensive perime- 
ters, would become a huge problem. 

Marines, ran into a company-sized 
group of Chinese that killed seven 
Marines and wounded three more 
before withdrawing. 

Roise's 2d Battalion came out of 
Sinhung Valley on 13 November 
with orders to relieve the 7th 
Marines of the responsibility of 
defending Koto-ri. Along the way 
Roise's Marines picked up one 
Chinese and 12 North Korean pris- 
oners. An airstrip capable of han- 
dling light aircraft was opened at 
Koto-ri that same day. Taplett's 3d 
Battalion, 5th Marines, was now at 
Chinhung-ni. Taplett, 32, from 
South Dakota, had spent most of 
World War II on sea duty with the 
cruiser Salt Lake City (CL 25). The 3d 
Battalion was his first infantry 
command. He was not always an 
easy personality, but his perfor- 
mance at Pusan, Inchon (where he 
had led this battalion ashore in the 
successful seizure of Wolmi-do in 
the opening phase of the landing), 
and Seoul had been outstanding. 
Still stiffer fights were ahead of 

Smith, making his own road 

reconnaissance of Funchilin Pass, 
took a helicopter as far as 
Chinhung-ni. Helicopters at that 
time, because of the cold and alti- 
tude, were not going farther north; 
there being problems with gear 

boxes freezing up. Smith bor- 
rowed a jeep from Taplett and 
drove on up to Koto-ri. 

MacArthur Reassesses Situation 

By now MacArthur had to 
accept that the Chinese were in 
Korea in strength, perhaps as 
many as 100,000 of them, but he 
was still of the opinion that China 
would not make a full-scale inter- 

Almond had moved his head- 
quarters on 11 November from 
Wonsan to Hamhung with plans to 
move his command post farther 
north to Hagaru-ri. Almond must 
have reflected that 11 November 
was Armistice Day from the First 
World War. Many of the senior 
leaders in Korea had fought in that 
war, including MacArthur as a 
brigadier general and Almond as a 
major. Almond had served with 
distinction in the U.S. 4th Infantry 
Division as commander of the 12th 
Machine Gun Battalion. Armistice 
(Continued on page 34) 

The wreath with "Merry Christmas, "perhaps some Marine's idea of humor, is mis- 
leading. The photo was probably taken at Chinhung-ni in mid-November. At left 
is LtCol Robert D. Taplett, Commanding Officer, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, and 
at right is his executive officer, Maj fohn J . Canny, who would die at Yudam-ni 
two weeks later. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A7349 


Coping with the Cold 

How cold was it at the reservoir? Most 
Marines "knew'' that the temperature went 
down to about 25 degrees below zero at 
night, but how many Marines had a thermometer in 
their pack? 

The cold was no great surprise, unless, perhaps, 
you were like one Marine from Samoa who had 
never seen snow before. The division staff knew by 
late October or early November that Hagaru-ri had 
the reputation of being the coldest place in North 
Korea, with a recorded temperature of 35 degrees 
below zero. The climate is roughly like that of 
Minnesota or North Dakota. The winter of 1950 
was a cold one, but not unusually so. The powers 
that be had adequate warning that it was coming and 
considerable preparations had been made. 

Those at the top, and some at other levels in the 
1st Marine Division, had had some experience with 
cold weather operations, if not by participation, at 
least by observation and a bit of training. 

The division's commanding general, Major 
General Oliver P. Smith, had gone with the 1st 
Provisional Marine Brigade to Iceland in August 
1941 to relieve the British garrison, as a major in 

Cold was all-pervasive, even at Hamhung, which with its 
near sea-level elevation was much milder than up on the 
Changjin plateau. Here Marines at Hamhung, probably 
members of a combat service unit, cook bacon and 
beans on top of a stove made from a gasoline drum. 

Department of Defense Photo uiSMC) A4617 

National Archives Photo (USN) H0-G-424584 

These Marines, looking very fresh, pause enroute to 
Yudam-ni on 27 November to heat their C-rations over an 
open fire. 7hey are wearing the newly issued shoe-pacs with 
boot socks folded neatly over the tops. At the far left the 
Marine appears to he wearing old-fashioned galoshes 
over field shoes or boots, a better combination against the 
cold than the shoe-pacs. 

command of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. He 
remembered Iceland as a "bleak and rugged 
island — mountains, cliffs, no trees — not a tree" and 
most of all the violent, never ceasing wind. 

There were others, besides Smith, in the division 
who had also been in the Iceland expedition. One 
of them was Lieutenant Colonel Raymond L. 
Murray, commander of the 5th Marines. In Iceland 
he had been a captain and commander of a 
machine gun company. He had also served in 
Peiping in North China before World War II. He did 
not find Iceland as rugged as Korea: "It was not ter- 
ribly cold. I don't think it ever got much below 10 
above zero." 

The Marines suddenly on their way to Iceland did 
not, at first, have any specialized winter clothing. 
They wore their wool kersey winter service uniforms 
including their woolen overcoats, supplemented by 
some items bought on the open market, notably 
some short, sheepskin-lined, canvas coats pur- 
chased from Sears Roebuck and carried as organi- 
zational property. Another much-favored addition 
were pile-lined hats with ear flaps, such as Marines 
had worn in North China. 

The Marines in Iceland did not live in tents or in 


the open. They were billeted in Nissen huts, "an 
elongated igloo covered with corrugated iron roof- 
ing and lined with beaver board," the flimsy British 
equivalent of the more substantial American 
Quonset huts. Marines piled sod on the sides of the 
Nissen huts to improve insulation. Each battalion had 
a different camp in a different part of the island. 

In many ways the deployment, as an opportuni- 
ty for winter training, was a disappointment. 
Finnish success with ski troops in the Winter War 
with the Soviet Union in 1939 had been much pub- 
licized (and romanticized). But it did not get as 
cold in Iceland as it was supposed to get and there 
was not much snow, seldom as much as a foot. 

Marine experiments with skis and more work-a- 
day snowshoes did not come to much. Nine years 
later, the Marines at Chosin Reservoir did not have 
skis or snowshoes and it was just as well. They 
would not have been useful. 

The brigade came back in February and March 
1942 wearing the British Polar Bear shoulder 
patch — and were ordered to take it off. Most of the 
Marines would soon be on their way to 
Guadalcanal, and beyond that to Tarawa, and 
would earn another shoulder patch, either that of the 
1st Marine Division or 2d Marine Division. 

A larger percentage of Marines in the division than 
those few who had been in Iceland were those 
who had served in North China after the end of 
World War II, a now almost forgotten episode. It 
began with the 55,000-man deployment of the III 
Amphibious Corps at the end of September 1945 that 
included both the 1st and 6th Marine Division and 
the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and ended with the 
withdrawal of the last battalion in 1949, just a year 
before the Marines went to Korea. Like Iceland, it 
was largely a garrison experience, but the China 
Marines learned about the sub-zero temperatures and 
the arctic winds that came out of Manchuria and 
across the Gobi Desert. Marines guarding supply 
points or critical bridges or riding the coal trains 
knew how cold it could get. 

The clothing they wore, including the Navy 
parka, was not much different than that which 
would be worn in Korea. Officially designated as the 
Marine Corps' 1943 cold weather uniform, it was 
predicated largely on the Iceland experience and 
consisted primarily, except for the parka, of U.S. 
Army components. 

Other, older Marines in the division, including the 
chief of staff, Colonel Gregon A. Williams, the G-2, 

Colonel Bankson T. Holcomb, Jr., and the com- 
manding officer of the 1st Marines, Colonel Lewis 
"Chesty" Puller, had had substantial service in pre- 
World War II China, including a chance to observe 
operations by Chinese Communist forces in the 
cold. They knew about the padded Chinese winter 
uniforms. Some, including Chesty Puller who was 
much better read and more of a student of military 
history than his flamboyant reputation would sug- 
gest, had studied Japanese winter operations in 
northern Korea and Manchuria in the Russo- 
Japanese War of 1904-05. 

The Quartermaster General of the Marine Corps, 
Major General William P. T. Hill, himself an old 
China hand and an explorer of the Gobi Desert, 
began shipping out cold-weather clothing, includ- 
ing Navy parkas, to Korea in October 1950. 
Beginning in November, the battalion-sized 
replacement drafts being sent to restore combat 
losses received rudimentary cold weather training, 
at least in the wearing of cold-weather clothing. 

The Marines, and, for that matter, the U.S. Army, 
used the "layer principle" for winter clothing, 
which simply meant that the Marine or soldier piled 
on as many layers of clothing as he could find. 
From the skin out he might have on cotton under- 
pants and shirt or "skivvies," winter underwear or 
"long johns," mustard-colored flannel shirt, utility 
trousers or green kersey service trousers if he had 
them, sweater, green sateen winter trousers, alpaca 
vest, utility coat, a woolen muffler, and perhaps an 
M1943 field jacket, all crammed under a long, 
hooded, pile-lined Navy parka. The parka was 
warm but heavy and clumsy. Some Marines managed 
to find the shorter anorak-type parka worn by the 
Army and liked it better. Also popular, when they 
could be found, were the Army's "trooper" style 
pile-lined winter hats with earflaps. Several styles of 
gloves were issued. The most common had a 
leather and fabric outer shell and an inner mitten of 
knitted wool. 

On their feet, Marines, unless they could find a 
substitute, wore "shoe-pacs" — waterproof rubber 
bottoms with laced leather uppers. They were 
issued with two sets each of felt innersoles and 
heavy woolen boot socks. The Marines were told to 
keep one set of the socks and innersoles inside 
their clothing next to their body and to change 
them frequently. These instructions were good in the- 
ory but difficult to follow in practice. Excessive per- 
spiration, generated by marching, soaked the 



When possible, as here at Koto-ri, sleeping boles were 
dug behind fighting holes and frequently covered with 
ponchos or shelter halves. In this case, the occupants 

innersoles and socks. When the Marine halted, the 
felt innersoles and stockings quickly froze and so did 
the wearer's feet. 

The shoe-pacs were hated, but the sleeping 
bags that the Marines had carried ashore at 
Inchon, now had a heavier lining and were much 
loved and, indeed, were indispensable. Marines 
found the bags, which could be rolled and tied to 
the bottom of their haversacks, good for sleeping, 
for warming feet, and for keeping casualties from 
freezing to death. There was a problem, though, of 
Marines standing watch in foxholes being allowed 
to pull their sleeping bags up to their knees or 
waists, and then, giving into temptation, slipping fur- 
ther into the bag and falling asleep. A Chinese sol- 
dier suddenly upon him killed more than one 
Marine, caught in his sleeping bag. 

In fighting the cold, the Marines learned or 
relearned certain principles including the impor- 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A53S1 
have managed to incorporate a stove. Most often the only 
relief from the cold for the infantry was in the form of 
/farming tents set up to the rear of their position. 

tance of keeping moving to generate body heat. The 
drawback to this was, of course, the sweat-soaked 
shoe-pacs that invited frostbite. The digging in of a 
foxhole, which could require six to eight hours of 
effort, often at the end of a long march, also gen- 
erated heat, sometimes presenting the paradoxical 
sight of a Marine, stripped almost to the waist, 
hacking away at the frozen earth. In last analysis, the 
imposition of cold weather discipline depended 
upon the small-unit leadership of lieutenants, 
sergeants, and corporals. All things considered, 
they did amazingly well. 

The Marines were still using their World War II 
pack; a well designed but complicated piece of 
equipment with a haversack, knapsack, a bedding 
roll, and many straps and buckles. Ordinarily, a 
Marine in combat carried nothing but his haver- 
sack and sleeping bag, and, of course, his rifle belt 
with its load of canteens, bayonet, first aid packet, 


ammunition, and possibly a few grenades. Most 
Marines preferred a pack board whenever they 
could get one. 

A Marine also had to find a place for his daily C- 
ration when it was issued. It came in a clumsy 
cardboard box about the size of a shoe box, six 
cylindrical cans in all, three "heavies" and three 
"lights," plus an assortment of packets that includ- 
ed a day's supply of toilet paper and a neat little box 
with four cigarettes. The "heavies" were the meat 
components, much improved and with a much 
wider variety of items than the disliked World War 
II C-ration. The Army's Quartermaster Corps had 
worked hard on the improvements, basing them 
on regional favorites. Among the offerings were 
hamburgers (highly prized), chicken with vegetables, 
ham and lima beans, meat and beans, and sausage 
patties (the least favorite). The "lights" included at 
least one half-sized can of some kind of fruit, easi- 
ly the best-liked element in the ration and one or 
more "bread units" which were biscuits of one sort 
or another, descended from Civil War hardtack, and 
something that passed for cake. Also to be found 
were different sorts of candy (disks of chocolate 
were preferred), salt, pepper, and packets of solu- 
ble coffee and cocoa. Most often a Marine took out 
what he liked or could trade and threw the rest 
away. What he retained he would fit into various 
pockets. He wondered why the ration could not be 
packed in flat cans that he could pocket more eas- 
ily. His largest problem, though, was heating the 
meat component. Best method was to heat it in a 
bucket or Gl can of boiling water, but these were sel- 
dom available. Cooking fires made with available- 
wood usually did more burning than cooking. 
Unused mortar increments and bits of C-3 plastic- 
explosive, when they could be found, burned with 
a quick hot heat. Dirt in a larger can, doused with 
gasoline, gave an improvised stove. But such open 
fires did not do well, tending to scorch the meat clos- 
est to the can and leaving the interior still frozen. 
Jeep and truck drivers could wire a can to their 
engine and when their run was finished, have a hot 

C-ration meat components would begin to 
freeze as soon as their cans were removed from the 
heat. Drinking coffee from an aluminum mess cup 
could be a dangerous process, the drinker's lip or 
tongue freezing to the cup. On the march it was 
often impossible to heat the meat component. 
Consequently the bread unit and fruit component 

were the first to be consumed. 

Marines soon learned that keeping a thin coat of 
oil on their weapons, as taught to them emphatically 
by their drill instructors at boot camp, was not a good 
idea in sub-zero temperatures. Even a thin coat of 
oil tended to congeal and freeze the weapon's 
action. The word went out to wipe all weapons dry 
of oil. There was some argument over this. Some 
Marines thought that an infinitesimally thin coat of 
oil was best. There were arguments, pro and con, 
on the advisability of keeping personal weapons in 
sleeping bags or taking them into warming tents, or 
leaving them out in the cold. 

By and large the weapons of the Marines 
worked well. A notable exception was the caliber .30 
Ml and M2 carbine. Already suspect in World War 
II, it proved to be a miserable failure in sub-zero 
weather. Its weak action failed to feed rounds into 
the chamber, the bolt failed to close, and the piece 
often failed to fire. The release for its box magazine 
was a fraction of an inch from the safety. Mittened 
or cold-stiffened fingers sometimes pressed both, 
dropping the magazine into the snow. Even when 
a carbine did fire, the round had no stopping 
power. Most Marines carrying carbines replaced 
them as quickly as they could (and most often 
informally) with the prized Ml "Garand" rifle. 

The Browning automatic rifle, M1918A2, contin- 
ued to be a favorite Marine weapon. It functioned 
in proportion to the care it was given. Ice tended to 
form in the buffer group and inside the receiver. 

As with all weapons with a recoil mechanism, 
machine guns, in general, were sluggish in their rate 
of fire. The old reliable Browning water-cooled 
M1917A1 fired well as long as there was antifreeze 
(not always easy to get) in the water jacket. 
Without liquid, the barrels quickly overheated. The 
barrels of the M1919A4 light machine gun tended to 
burn out and there were not enough spares. The 
60mm and 81mm mortars fired reliably although 
there was considerable breakage of base plates and 
optical sights. It was remarked that the 81mm mor- 
tar shells looping across the sky left fiery tails more 
like rockets. 

As to the cold, some units did claim nighttime tem- 
peratures of 35 degrees and even 40 degrees below 
zero. Best-documented temperatures, though, are the 
records kept by the battalions of the 11th Marines, 
the artillery regiment, that had to factor in the tem- 
perature as an element of gunnery. These battalions 
routinely recorded temperatures of 20 and 25 


As shown in Ibis photo of Marines marching out ofKoto- 
ri on 8 December, each Marine carried what he consid- 
ered necessary to live and fight, a considerable load of 
upwards of 60 pounds. Some got along with just their sleep- 

below zero. Snow showers were frequent hut not 
much snow accumulated. The winds of 35 and 40 
miles per hour tended to blow the rock and frozen 
earth free of the thin snow. When morning came 
there would be ice crystals in the air, glinting in the 
sun like "diamond dust." 

Water in five-gallon "Jerry" cans and individual 
canteens turned into blocks of ice. Some Marines car- 
ried a canteen inside their clothing to keep it 
thawed. Since World War II and the thirst of the 
Pacific War it had been the Marine Corps habit of 
having each man carry two canteens. This continued 
in the Korean War. Some Marine officers and senior 
noncommissioned officers carried whiskey in their 
left or port side" canteen, which they doled out to 
their subordinates on a most-needed basis. The 
surgeons also had a carefully controlled supply of 

Department of Defense Photo (USMO A5356 
ing bag slung below their haversack. More carried a 
borseshoe-shaped bedding roll that could contain as 
much as a sleeping bag, a blanket, a poncho, and a shel- 
ter half. 

two-ounce bottles of medicinal brandy. Those 
lucky enough to get a bottle might use it to thaw out 
a C-ration can of fruit and then comment wryly on 
the luxury of "dining on brandied peaches." 

Immersion heaters seldom provided enough 
warmth to thaw the contents of a water trailer. All 
valves and piping froze solid. Fires built beneath the 
trailers were a sometime effective expedient. Some 
men ate snow. The favorite beverages, when the 
water for them could be heated, were the soluble 
coffee and cocoa to be found in the C-ration, or bet- 
ter yet, the more generous allowance in larger 

A-rations, the full garrison ration with fresh or 
frozen meat, fruits, and vegetables, was, of course, 
unavailable except in an extraordinary set of cir- 
cumstances such as the celebrated Thanksgiving 


dinner. B-rations, where canned items replaced the 
fresh or frozen items, were available but hard to use. 
Indeed, most of them were wasted, as they 
required a field kitchen for preparation. Efforts 
were made in the defensive perimeters to set up con- 
solidated field messes serving hot chow, but this sel- 
dom benefited the men actually serving in the 
frontline. An exception were the flapjacks or pan- 
cakes made around the clock by a battalion mess at 
Hagaru-ri and served to thousands of Marines and 
soldiers. Artillery batteries sometimes managed to set 
up their own small messes. Captain Andrew 
Strohmenger's battery, also at Hagaru-ri, was 
known for its doughnuts. 

As the march continued south from Koto-ri. the Marines 
took an increasing number of Chinese prisoners. The 
Chinese, who had padded uniforms, but little protection 

Big square cans of ground coffee were a com- 
ponent of the B-ration. These, where space in a jeep 
trailer could be found, would be kept hoarded 
until circumstances permitted the boiling up of a 
hatch of real coffee in a can or pail. Oatmeal, also 
to be found in the B-ration with the cooperation of 
a friendly mess sergeant, boiled in similar manner 
and flavored with sugar and powdered milk, was 
another favorite that riflemen, unfortunately, sel- 
dom enjoyed. Canned peanut butter, passed from 
Marine to Marine and dug out of the can by grimy 
fingers, was popular and more portable. 

As a variant to the C-rations, there were sometimes 
the larger "five-in-ones" and "ten-in-ones," much 

[or their hands and feet, and no tent age, suffered much 
more from the cold than did the Americans. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A53H7 


the same in content but with a more varied menu 
and intended for group consumption by a fire team 
or squad. For some reason these always seemed to 
be more available at the higher echelons and seldom 
at the rifle company level. 

Post exchange supplies — cigarettes, candy, writ- 
ing paper, and such — nominally there to be sold to 
the Marines, were given to them at no cost in the 
forward areas. Not many letters were being written, 
but the candy was a great favorite, particularly the 
chocolates and hard candies that gave quick ener- 
gy. Brand-name choices were Tootsie Rolls and 

Amidst a snowstorm, a 60mm mortar squad rests by the 
siile of the road south of Koto-ri i»i S December. In gen- 
eral, the Marines' winter clothing was cumbersome hut 

An enormous advantage that the Marines had 
(wer the Chinese was the availability of tentage. The 
standard tent was the same as used in World War II, 
four-sided or pyramidal in shape, 16 feet on a side, 
and with a center pole. A practiced crew could 
erect one in IS or 20 minutes even in the cold. Heat 
was provided by an M1941 stove or space heater the 
size and shape of a quarter keg of beer. Diesel oil 
w as the preferred fuel, but it thickened in the cold 
and was frequently — if dangerously — thinned with 
gasoline to make it flow through the stove's carbu- 
retor. The stove stood at the base of the center 
pole and was good for many things besides heating 

effective — except for the shoe-pac. The two Marines in 
the foreground manage a grin for the cameraman. Note 
the milieus worn by these Marines. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) L27-N-A5359 

at least the center portion of the tent; the sidewalls 
of which were usually, despite the stove, rimed 
with frost. 

General practice was one warming tent per pla- 
toon, even rifle platoons. This was possible within 
the perimeters. Marines were cycled through the 
tents in relays as frequently as the situation would 
permit, usually not more than six at a time nor for 
longer than 20 minutes. They were not a place to 
sleep. Exact practices varied with location and unit. 
The warming tents had odd psychological effects. 
The canvas sidewalls seemed to shut off the war, 
offering a non-existent protection. Too many 
Marines could not he clustered together at one 
time in a tent that might be hit by a mortar shell or 
machine gun fire. One common practice was to 
have a communal pot — one company headquar- 
ters, as its most prized possession, had a stainless 
steel pail it used as such, rescued months before 
from a hospital in Seoul — filled with stew or "slum" 
constantly simmering on the stove. A Marine, 
entering the tent, would take his share of the heat- 
ed slum and then replace it with the contents of one 
of his C-ration cans. A favorite condiment to make 
the stew palatable was Tabasco red-pepper sauce, 
a bottle of which always seemed to materialize. 
Short sections of wood were often nailed as cross 
trees to the tent pole as a drying place for sweat- 
soaked socks and felt shoe-pac liners. 

On the march there was some attempt, not very 
successful, at having warming tents as way sta- 
tions. Within the perimeters other tents, protected 
with sandbags, were designated as command 
posts, usual for regiment and battalion and some- 
times, but not often, at the company level. Each 
perimeter had a field hospital of sorts, using a con- 
venient schoolhouse or some such building. A bat- 
talion surgeon might have a cluster of tents, and 
there was such a thing as a hospital tent, consider- 
ably larger than the pyramidal tent. Company-level 
corpsmen often had a pyramidal tent to use as a sick 
bay for a few sick, lightly wounded, or exhausted 
Marines, and as a place to stash their stretchers 
and medical supplies. Life-saving plasma needed 
warmth in order to flow. Corpsmen working in the 
field during a firefight commonly carried morphine 
Syrettes in their mouths to keep them warm 
enough for injection. 

Elimination of body waste was an unending 
problem. Within the defensive perimeters at 
Yudam-ni, Hagaru-ri, Koto-ri, and Chinhung-ni 

there were certain niceties of expeditionary plumb- 
ing available to the headquarters, artillery, and ser- 
vice units if not to the infantry. Packing tubes from 
mortar and artillery shells provided al fresco urinals. 
"Four-holers," collapsible plywood "heads" or 
"shifters," reportedly a Marine Corps invention dat- 
ing back to the Banana War days, were set up in 
warming tents. These conveniences, almost never at 
hand for the rifle units, were not available to any- 
one on the march out. A much-repeated dark joke 
involved the problem of finding one's cold-shriveled 
penis through the many layers of clothing. Urine 
froze immediately on hitting the cold ground. 
Defecation was such a difficult procedure that 
some Marines simply stopped defecating. Later bat- 
talion surgeons and company hospital corpsmen 
would have to contend with impacted colons. 

By the time the Marines, after their rehabilitation 
at Masan, began to move north at the beginning of 
1951, some things had gotten better. A small 
mountain-type gasoline camp stove, about the size 
and shape of a quart oilcan, was issued on the 
basis of one stove to every four Marines. It largely 
solved the task of heating C-rations and at the 
same time produced boiling water for soluble cof- 
fee or cocoa. Inflatable rubber mattresses, to be used 
as insulation under the much-treasured sleeping 
bags, also began to appear. They worked best on 
a canvas cot, but riflemen seldom had the luxury of 
a cot even when in reserve. Not until the next year, 
however, would a thermal "Mickey Mouse" boot 
replace the hated shoe-pac. 

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Marine 
Corps sought a cold-weather training site in 
California. Big Bear was tried, but serious training 
did not mix with a ski resort. General Smith, after 
arriving at Camp Pendleton in May 1951 to be the 
base commander, took an active personal interest in 
finding a suitable location. Reconnaissance parties 
were sent out and by late summer a site was found 
450 miles north of Camp Pendleton in the Toiyabe 
National Forest in the High Sierras. With a valley 
floor at 6,800 feet, elevations went up to more than 
11,000 feet. Weather records promised winter tem- 
peratures of 20 below zero and 20 feet of snow. 
Marines called it "Pickle" Meadow, but it was real- 
ly Pickel Meadow, named for Frank Pickel, a trap- 
per who had built a cabin there in the 1860s. By fall 
1951 all replacement drafts and other units headed 
for Korea would have a week's in-the-field training 
at Pickel Meadow. 


(Continued from page 25) 
Day 1950 was marked in X Corps by 
the landing at Wonsan of the 15th 
Infantry, largely schools troops 
from Fort Benning. The regiment, 
under Colonel Dennis M. "Dinty" 
Moore, was to relieve Puller's 1st 
Marines in and around Wonsan. 
Almond was not pleased to learn 
that the 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, 
was a "Negro" unit and therefore, in 
his mind, not completely trustwor- 
thy. The 3d Division's third and 
last regiment, the 7th Infantry, 
commanded by Colonel John S. 
Guthrie, came from Fort Devens, 
Massachusetts, by way of Japan 
and would disembark at Wonsan 
on 17 November. 

Almond celebrated Armistice 
Day with an order at midnight call- 
ing for an advance to the border, the 

ROK I Corps on the right, the 7th 
Infantry Division in the center, and 
the 1st Marine Division on the left. 
The Marines were allotted a 40- 
mile stretch along the Yalu as their 
ultimate objective. That same day 
MacArthur indirectly ordered 
Almond, by way of a personal let- 
ter from his G-3, Major General 
Edwin K. "Pinky" Wright, to do 
everything he could to assist the 
Eighth Army in its drive to the 

Almond had his staff prepare an 
analysis of the Eighth Army's situa- 
tion. It credited Walker with having 
120,000 troops with which to 
oppose 100,000 of the enemy and 
having the advantages of air 
supremacy and superior artillery 
support. Almond's study concluded 
that the severing of the enemy's 

Members of the 7th Marines "answer up" at a mail call at Koto-ri on 15 
November. A large amount of mail had accumulated, some of it intended for 
Christmas. Airmail arrived in a prompt five or six days; packages could take five 
to six weeks or longer. The tall Marine with a letter in his hand is carrying a car- 
bine, a weapon that would prove worthless in the cold weather ahead. 

Photo by Cpl L. B. Snyder, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4632 

MSR at Mupyong-ni by X Corps 
would greatly assist Eighth Army's 
advance. Almond, in his reply to 
Wright on 14 November, proposed 
that he attack north and then west 
to link-up with the Eighth Army. 

As the Chinese Saw 1 1 

Peng Dehuai's chief of staff, Xie 
Fang, at about this time made his 
own assessment of the situation: 

Our 9th Army Group main 
forces have successively 
entered Korea from J'ian and 
Linjiang to assume eastern 
front operations. . . . We have 
over 150,000 men on the east- 
ern front, the enemy over 
90,000, giving us a 1.66 advan- 
tage over him. We have 
250,000 men on the western 
front, the enemy 130,000, giving 
us a 1.75 advantage over him. 
Our forces are superior on the 
eastern and western fronts. 

On 16 November, Xie Fang 
reported: "Our forces on the eastern 
front abandoned Hwangch'o 
[Funchilin] Pass on the 7th. On the 
10th. . . the enemy on the eastern 
front continued advancing north- 
ward along three separate routes.- 
From Hwangch'o Pass, P'unsan 
[Pungsan], and Myongchon . . . still 
far from our pre-selected killing 

.Ylondav 13 November 

Meanwhile, in a division order 
dated 13 November, Smith directed 
RCT-1 to take Huksu-ri, RCT-7 to 
seize Hagaru-ri and on order 
advance on Yudam-ni, and RCT-5 
to protect the MSR from positions at 
Majon-dong, Chinhung-ni, and 
Koto-ri, and to be prepared to pass 
through RCT-7 at Hagaru-ri and 
advance to Changjin 40 miles to the 


Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4875 
Marines found the 75mm recoilless rifle, shown here in action nearKoto-ri in mid- 
November, of increasing use in the mountains. It gave them a direct-fire weapon 
of great accuracy and lethality. But the shells were heavy and difficult to lug up 
into the hills in any great number. 

The road leading north from 
Koto-ri to Hagaru-ri followed a 
valley formed by the Changjin 
River. As Litzenberg's Marines 
moved on toward Hagaru-ri, 11 
miles north of Koto-ri and at the 
southern tip of the Chosin 
Reservoir, they could see parties of 
Chinese in the distance. 

On 15 November Rear Admiral 
Albert K. Morehouse, chief of staff 
of U.S. Naval Forces, Far East, vis- 
ited Smith. Smith, feeling he was 
speaking within the naval family, 
outlined for Morehouse, to be 
passed on to Vice Admiral C. 
Turner Joy, the Commander, Naval 
Forces, Far East, his concern over 
what he considered Almond's 
unrealistic planning and tendency 
to ignore enemy capabilities. 
Smith may or may not have shown 
Morehouse a letter he had just 
drafted to General Cates. 

Alarmed at the prospect of 
attacking simultaneously in two 
different directions, Smith had 
stepped out of the chain-of-com- 
mand to write a personal letter to 
the Commandant of the Marine 
Corps. In it he said: 

Someone in high authority 
will have to make up his 
mind as to what is our goal. 
My mission is still to advance 
to the border. The Eighth 
Army, 80 miles to the south- 
west, will not attack until the 
20th. Manifestly, we should 
not push on without regard 
to the Eighth Army. We 
would simply get further out 
on a limb. If the Eighth Army 
push does not go, then the 
decision will have to be made 
as to what to do next. I 
believe a winter campaign in 
the mountains of North Korea 
is too much to ask of the 
American soldier or marine, 
and I doubt the feasibility of 
supplying troops in this area 

during the winter or providing 
for the evacuation of sick and 

In conclusion, Smith under- 
scored his concern over "the 
prospects of stringing out a Marine 
division along a single mountain 
road for 120 air miles from 
Hamhung to the border." 

Asked years later to comment 
on this extraordinary action by 
Smith, Almond said tartly: "My 
general comment is that General 
Smith, ever since the beginning of 
the Inchon landing and the prepa- 
ration phase, was overly cautious of 
executing any order that he ever 

In 1952, General Shepherd, by 
then Commandant, would report 
to the Secretary of the Navy: "By 
orders of higher authority the divi- 
sion was placed in a situation, 
which, when the Chinese struck in 
force on 28 November 1950, 
resulted in the division being in 
effect deployed in column for a 

distance of 35 miles within enemy 
territory. . . . The wide separation 
of elements of the Tenth Corps of 
which the First Marine Division 
was a part, and the gap existing 
between the Tenth Corps and the 
Eighth Army had permitted the 
Chinese to flow around the First 
Marine Division preparatory to an 
all-out attack." 

MacArthur, responding to 
Almond's 15 November proposal, 
asked Almond for an alternate 
plan giving priority to taking off 
the pressure confronting the 
Eighth Army. Accordingly, Almond 
now visualized an attack by the 1st 
Marine Division on the Hagaru- 
ri — Mupyong-ni axis with a regi- 
mental combat team from the 7th 
Division protecting the division's 
right flank by taking Changjin. 
This became the operative plan. 
Almond recognized that extreme 
minimum temperatures of from 30 
to 40 degrees below zero would 
severely restrict both friendly and 
enemy operations. 


Photo by TSgt J. W. Helms, Jr., Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A155763 
A Marine squad trudges through the snow-encrusted streets ofHagaru-ri. The 7th 
Marines occupied the town on 15 'November. By then the weather had turned cold. 
Weather records indicated that Hagaru-ri could be the coldest spot in North Korea. 

7th Marines Reach Hagaru-ri 

While the commanders ex- 
changed proposals and plans, the 
7th Marines occupied Hagaru-ri on 
15 November. The nighttime tem- 
perature had dropped to four 
degrees below zero. Hagaru-ri was 
a medium-sized town, fairly well 
flattened by bombing. Just north 
of Hagaru-ri in the hamlet of Sasu- 
ri there was a sawmill and a great 
deal of fresh-cut lumber. Once 
tents began to spring up, the town 
reminded at least one Marine offi- 
cer of an Alaskan gold camp with 
its mud-and-snow streets, its tents, 
and rough construction with raw 
lumber. General Craig visited 
Hagaai-ri and recommended it to 
Smith as a forward base. 

By then RCT-5 had its 2d 
Battalion at Koto-ri, its 3d 
Battalion at Chinhung-ni — along 
with much of the remainder of the 
division — and its 1st Battalion at 
Majon-dong. As Murray, the regi- 
mental commander, remembered: 

We'd been highly successful 
in the south, and we had a lot 

of this carry over as we went 
north. There wasn't anybody 
any better than we were, that 
was the general feeling in the 
regiment. . . the hills seemed 
to be a lot steeper than they 

were in the south. . . . And in 
some cases, on the road 
between, I guess it was just 
below Hagaru-ri a ways, 
there was a power plant built 
right into the side of the 
mountain, and the road ran 
over a part of this thing. Very 
easy to blow it up, which was 
done, done twice as a matter 
of fact by the Chinese later 

Smith again visited the Chosin 
plateau on 16 November, this time 
driving up in a heated station 
wagon. At Chinhung-ni he met, by 
coincidence rather than design, 
Major General Field Harris, 55, the 
commanding general of the 1st 
Marine Aircraft Wing. Harris had 
flown as far as Chinhung-ni in a 
helicopter and had planned to go 
the rest of the way by open jeep. 
Smith offered him a ride in his sta- 
tion wagon. They drove comfort- 
ably to Hagaru-ri with Smith in a 
rare burst of jocularity promising 

A tent camp sprang up at Hagaru-ri. On 18 November there was time for a brief 
awards ceremony. Col Homer Litzenberg, right, and LtCol Raymond G . Davis, left, 
Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, congratulates Cpl Earle R. Setfert, who 
received a Bronze Star, and SSgt Earle E. Payne, a Navy Commendation Ribbon, 
for earlier heroism. 

Photo by Cpl L. 13. Snyder, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N- A4641 


National Archives Photo (USN) 80-G-421479 
VAdm C. Turner Joy, left, is greeted at Wonsan on 19 October by MajGen Field 
Harris, commanding general of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Joy, as 
Commander, Naval Forces, Far East, was MacArthur's naval component com- 
mander. No direct command line linked Harris and the wing to O. P. Smith and 
the 1st Marine Division. 

move up the east side of the reser- 
voir and seize Sinhung-ni, about 
seven miles northeast of Hagaru-ri. 
(Sinhung-ni, just east of Chosin 
Reservoir should not be confused 
with Sinhung in Sinhung Valley 
previously visited by the 5th 

Murray had been told to nomi- 
nate a battalion commander for 
return to the United States. He 
picked George Newton, comman- 
der of the 1st Battalion. Murray 
said of Newton: "He was a very 
competent battalion commander, 
but he was, I felt, almost killing 
himself trying to be a good battal- 
ion commander. He seemed to 
stay awake most of the time." 

"George left [on 17 November] 
before we went all the way up," 
said Murray. "Anyway, George 
Newton was relieved by a pretty 
good leader [Lieutenant Colonel 
John W. Stevens II]. But I did have 
good battalion commanders. We 
had an excellent staff. The main 
thing, as I say, is that we had been 

Harris a station wagon of his own 
in exchange for continued close 
air support. 

Almond had asked Field Harris to 
reconnoiter Hagaru-ri for a site for 
an airstrip long enough to handle 
two-engine transports. Smith and 
Harris walked the ground and 
found a stretch just south of the 
town that seemed suitable. "There 
is plenty of room, but the soil con- 
sists of a thick, black loam," Smith 
entered in his log. "If the ground 
freezes it will probably be all right 
for a strip." 

Regiments Gel New Orders 

On 17 November Smith modi- 
fied his orders to his regimental 
combat teams. RCT-7 was to protect 
the left flank of the division 
between Hagaru-ni and Yudam-ni. 
RCT-5 was to pass a battalion 
through RCT-7 at Hagaru-ri and 

An M-4A3 Sherman tank from the 1st Tank Battalion travels along a well-grad- 
ed but narrow road coming up Funchilin Pass on 19 November. Tanks gave the 
Marines enormous firepower and were useful in crushing enemy roadblocks, but 
weather and terrain tended to keep them road-bound. 

Photo by TSgt J. W. Helms, Jr., National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5343 


National Archives Photo (USN) 80-G-423190 
MajGen O. P. Smith and RAdm James H. Doyle, shown here at the time of the 
Inchon landing, were long-time friends. Both were highly experienced in 
amphibious warfare. They formed an effective and compatible partnership not 
only at Inchon, but also in both the Wonsan landing and the ultimate evacua- 
tion from Hungnam. 

successful in the south, and all that 
was needed was to keep this 
going." Stevens was a known 
quantity. He had been the executive 
officer of the 2d Battalion, 5th 
Marines, from Pusan on through 
Inchon and Seoul. 

That evening Smith dined on 
board the amphibious command 
ship Mount McKinley (AGC 7) with 
Rear Admiral James H. "Jimmy" 
Doyle. Describing Doyle as "a typ- 
ical Irishman," Colonel Bowser, 
Smith's G-3, said: "He is a real 
fighter when it comes to the 
clutches. A fun guy to know — 
always a laugh or a joke." Smith 
and Doyle, alone in the admiral's 
cabin, in Smith's words, "let our 
hair down." 

Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble, 
commander of the Seventh Fleet, 
had been superimposed over 
Doyle's Task Force 90 during the 
Inchon and Wonsan landings. 
Doyle disliked Struble and, dubious 
of his competence, was deter- 
mined to keep the Seventh Fleet 

out of direct control of future 
amphibious operations. After the 
Wonsan landing, Doyle had com- 
plained to his old friend Vice 
Admiral Joy, commander of Naval 
Forces, Far East, that he could not 
and would not come under Struble 
again. He was successful in his 
arguments. As commander, Task 
Force 90, at Hungnam he would 
report direct to Admiral Joy. 

By now engineers had 
improved the MSR to a point 
where armor could be sent for- 
ward to join Litzenberg. A tank 
platoon reached Hagaru-ri on 18 
November. That same day Smith 
visited Puller at his command post 
just west of Chigyong. Smith noted 
that there was snow on the moun- 
tains but that the road was still 
open. He was resisting an order 
from Almond to send a battalion to 
Huksu-ri, about 20 miles to the 
northwest, to occupy a blocking 
position. "There is no truck road 
to take," said Smith in his log. "I do 
not intend to put Puller out on a 

limb where he cannot be supplied. 
Also I would like to close him up 
behind the regiments moving 
toward the Chosin Reservoir. The 
26th ROK Regiment is attacking 
toward Huksu-ri. Possibly this will 
relieve me of concern regarding 
that place." 

Construction of the airstrip at 
Hagaru-ri began. Smith asked for X 
Corps engineers, but could get 
none. The job was given to 
Lieutenant Colonel John Part- 
ridge's 1st Engineer Battalion. 
Wind-blown Hagaru-ri was at an 
elevation of about 4,000 feet. For 
that altitude the engineer manuals 
prescribed a minimum runway of 
3,900 feet for C-47 transport oper- 
ations. The engineers crossed their 
fingers and hoped that a strip as 
short as 3,000 feet might do. Once 
started, construction of the airstrip 
proceeded 24 hours a day, with 
work at night under floodlights. 

Marine observation squadron, 
VMO-6, although part of the 1st 
Marine Aircraft Wing, was under 
Smith's operational control. Smith 
regarded the squadron as his own 
private air force. On the 19th, he 
visited the squadron's commander, 
Major Vincent J. Gottschalk, at 
Yonpo airfield to discuss the prob- 
lems of operating helicopters and 
light aircraft in the cold at high alti- 
tudes. Gottschalk, 31, promised to 
provide solutions. He had come 
into the Corps in 1941 after gradu- 
ating from the University of 
Michigan. For much of World War II 
he had served as Marine detach- 
ment commander in the light aircraft 
carrier Langley (CVL 27) — after the 
war came two years of flight train- 

Early in November, Admiral Joy 
had asked Smith if he could use 
the Royal Marines' 41 Independent 
Commando — 14 officers and 221 
enlisted men, commanded by 
Lieutenant Colonel Douglas B. 
Drysdale. Smith replied he would 


be glad to get these fine troops, 
foreseeing 41 Commando operating 
with the division Reconnaissance 
Company in screening the flanks of 
the Marine advance. The British 
Marines arrived at Hungnam on 20 
November, the same day that 
Almond passed on instructions 
from higher headquarters that 
"damage, destruction or disruption 
of service of power plants will be 
avoided." In the larger scheme of 
things, the intention was to leave 
the hydroelectric generators intact. 
Marines would wonder why. 

On 21 November the division's 
southern boundary was adjusted 
to give the responsibility for 
Huksu-ri to the 3d Infantry Di- 
vision. Puller's regiment was now 
available to fill in behind Murray 
and Litzenberg. 

Secretary of the Navy Visits 

Wednesday morning, 22 Nov- 
ember, found O. P. Smith and Field 

Photo by Sgt John Babyak, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4683 
The well-meaning, but bumbling Secretary of the Navy Francis P. Matthews, 
greeted here by BGen Craig, visited the division 's rear area at Hamhung on 22 
November. At the division hospital he was surprised to learn that Navy person- 
nel met the Marine Corps' medical needs. Another politician accompanied him, 
Senator Claude Pepper of Florida. 

Harris on the Yonpo airfield await- 
ing the arrival of the Secretary of the 
Navy, Francis P. Matthews. Behind 
his back, Matthews was known as 

LtCol Douglas B. Drysdale, RM, and his 41 Independent Commando, Royal 
Marines, were billeted briefly with the 1st Engineer Battalion in Hamhung 
before moving up to the Chosin Reservoir. Drysdale's command, largely made up 
of volunteers, had assembled in Japan where it was re-equipped with American 
infantry weapons. 

Photo by TSgt J. W. Helms, Jr., National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5322 

"Rowboat" because of his lack of 
knowledge of naval matters. 
Accompanying the secretary was 
Admiral Joy and Senator Claude 
Pepper of Florida. Arriving at the 
airfield at the same time was 
President Syngman Rhee. Mat- 
thews had wanted to call on Rhee 
in Seoul but could not get clearance 
from the Secretary of State, Dean 
Acheson, to do so. This left Smith 
and Harris with the ticklish problem 
of keeping the two high-level par- 
ties apart. They whisked Matthews 
away from the field before he 
could learn of Rhee's presence, 
taking him to the division hospital. 
There were very few wounded 
Marines to visit, but Matthews 
found the Chinese and North 
Korean prisoner of war patients of 
great interest. He seemed to have 
difficulty understanding why Navy 
personnel were running a Marine 
hospital. It was a picture-taking 
opportunity for the secretary fol- 
lowed by another picture-taking 
opportunity at the division ceme- 
tery. Next the division staff gave 
the visitors a briefing followed by 


Photo by Sgt Peter Ruplenas, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC363307 

It was a proud moment forMajGen Almond, center, when, on 21 November, sol- 
diers of the 7th Infantry Division reached the Yalu River. Savoring the moment 
with him, from left to right: BGen Homer Kiefer, division artillery commander; 
BGen Henry I. Hodes, assistant division commander; MajGen David G. Barr, divi- 
sion commander; and Col Herbert B. Powell, Commanding Officer, RCT-1 7. 

lunch in the commanding gener- 
al's mess. The cooks had embell- 
ished the standard ration with 
biscuits and cookies. Secretary 
Matthews and Senator Pepper 
seemed to enjoy these immensely. 
Secretary Matthews was then 
escorted back to Yonpo airfield. 
Smith again managed to keep him 
unaware of President Rhee who 
was departing at the same time. 
Senator Pepper stayed on for the 
rest of the day. He wanted to visit 
with some Marines from Florida. 
Smith found 15 of these. He had not 
been able to find any Marines 
from Nebraska for Secretary 

Thanksgiving, 23 November 

Thanksgiving fell on Thursday, 
23 November. The holiday menu, 
accomplished by strenuous effort 
on the part of many hands, includ- 
ed shrimp cocktail, stuffed olives, 
roast young torn turkey with cran- 
berry sauce, candied sweet pota- 
toes, fruit salad, fruit cake, 
mincemeat pie, and coffee. Even 
the Marine infantry units got at 
least the turkey. 

Admiral Doyle sent in a cooked 
turkey for General Smith's mess, 
but Smith himself had been invited 
to dinner by Almond. As Smith 
said in his log: "The dinner was 
complete with cocktails served 
from a cocktail bar, tablecloths, 
napkins, Japanese chinaware, reg- 
ular silverware, place cards, etc. 
Admiral Struble and Generals 
Biederlinden (G-l of GHQ), 
Harris, Barr, and Ruffner were also 

Two days before Thanksgiving, 
elements of the 7th Division's 17th 
Regiment had reached the Yalu 
without encountering a single 
Chinese soldier. Years later 
General Almond still savored that 
moment of triumph: 

And on the 21st of 
November the leading battal- 
ion of the 17th Infantry 
reached the Yalu River and I 
was present when they did 
so. ... I accompanied 
General Barr, the division 
commander; General Hodes, 
the assistant division com- 
mander; and General Kieffer, 
the artilleryman; with the reg- 

imental commander, Colonel 
Powell. We all walked behind 
the lead company down the 
road to the river bank. This 
was the first element of the 
American forces to reach the 
Korean-Manchurian border, 
although earlier elements of 
the 6th ROK Division with I 
American Corps on the west 
flank, Eighth Army front, 
attempted to get to the river 
but did not succeed in 
remaining there. 

Almond and his commanders 
paused on the banks of the Yalu for 
a ritual urination into the waters of 
the river. Meanwhile, Colonel 
Charles E. Beauchamp's 32d 
Infantry was advancing to the 
northwest of Powell's 17th Infantry 
with orders to reach Singalpajin, 
originally a Marine Corps objec- 
tive, on the Yalu. A 34-man patrol 
under Second Lieutenant Robert C. 
Kingston (a future four-star gener- 
al) was sent out from the 3d 
Battalion, 32d Infantry. The patrol 
reached Samsu, 23 miles south of 
the Yalu, where it held on for 
three days, and then, reinforced 
by tanks, artillery, engineers, and 
more infantry, plunged forward, 
still commanded by the 22-year- 
old second lieutenant. Now desig- 
nated "Task Force Kingston," it 
arrived at Singalpajin on 28 
November, fought a house-to- 
house fight with North Koreans, 
and then took its turn at urinating 
in the Yalu. The second and last 
American unit to reach the 
Chinese border, Task Force 
Kingston, for all of its adventures, 
suffered only one casualty: a soldier 
reportedly killed by a Siberian 

While soldiers and Marines 
were eating their Thanksgiving 
turkey, Smith again modified his 
orders for the 1st Marine Division's 
advance. RCT-7 was to move on to 


Photo by TSgt J. W. Helms, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5289 
In the 1st Marine Division rear at Hamhung, where the weather was still benign, 
members of Maj Robert L. Schreier' 1st Signal Battalion queue up for 
Thanksgiving dinner. This battalion, responsible for both the wire and radio com- 
munications of the division, also included ANGLICO — the Air and Naval 
Gunfire Liaison Company that provided forward observer teams to Army and ROK 
elements of X Corps. 

Yudam-ni. RCT-5 was to continue 
up the eastern side of the reser- 
voir. RCT-1 was to protect the MSR 
from positions at Hagaru-ri, Koto-ri, 
and Chinhung-ni. As Smith said in 
his log: 

I did not want to push 
Murray too far or get 
Litzenberg out on a limb at 
Yudam-ni until I could close 
up Puller in rear of them. . . . 
I had hoped there might be 
some change in the orders on 
the conservative side. This 
change did not materialize 
and I had to direct Litzenberg 
to move on to Yudam-ni. 

Most of the 7th Marines had 
their Thanksgiving dinner at 
Hagaru-ri. The 2d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, had set up its field mess in 
the shadow of what would come to 
be called "East Hill." Private First 
Class Alfred P. Bradshaw, a 
reservist who had recently joined 
Captain Hull's Dog Company, had 
lost his mess gear. The mess kits 

consisted of two flat aluminum 
pans clamped together, not much 
changed in pattern since the Civil 
War. Marines in rifle companies 
seldom had need for mess gear; 
they subsisted almost entirely on 

C-rations, thankfully much im- 
proved since World War II. 
Bradshaw, standing in the chow 
line, had sought to improvise a 
plate out of a piece of cardboard. 
Hull saw Bradshaw's plight and 
gave him one of his pans. 
Bradshaw would remember that. 

The road from Hagaru-ri to 
Yudam-ni climbed up through 
Toktong Pass, four miles to the 
northwest and about 4,000 feet in 
elevation, and then descended 
into a narrow valley before reach- 
ing Yudam-ni. Smith personally 
gave Litzenberg orders to drop off 
a company at Toktong Pass. 

On the day following Thanks- 
giving, 24 November, MacArthur 
came to Korea to see the jump-off 
of the Eighth Army on the offensive 
that was to end the war. He 
announced to the press that the 
war would be won in two weeks 
and that the Eighth Army would 
spend Christmas in Japan. To com- 
plete Walker's victory, MacArthur 
ordered Almond to execute the 
already planned attack to the west 
so as to squeeze the Chinese 

Elements of both the 5th and 7th Marines spent Thanksgiving within the perime- 
ter of the burgeoning combat base at Hagaru-ri. Every effort was made to reach 
every Marine in the division with a traditional holiday dinner. Here a 5th 
Marines cook ladles pumpkin pie mix into a piecrust spread out in a square pan. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4726 


Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A6791 
Thanksgiving was a last lull before the Chinese storm broke. At Hagaru-ri, 
Reverend Lee In Sup, a Presbyterian pastor, and his wife joined the 5th Marines 
for Thanksgiving services. Lee thanked LtCol Murray, commanding officer of the 
5th Marines, for the liberation "of our country and our church." Beaming 
broadly in the background is the regimental chaplain, LtCdr Orlando 
Ingvoldstad, Jr. 

between the Eighth Army and the 
still-independent X Corps. Lieu- 
tenant Colonel John H. Chiles, 
USA, Almond's G-3, had carried 
the final draft of X Corps opera- 
tions order to Tokyo on 
Thanksgiving Day. MacArthur ap- 
proved the plan on Friday. 

On Saturday morning, 25 
November, O. P. Smith attended a 
briefing at X Corps headquarters 
outlining X Corps Operation Order 
Number 7. He learned that his 
division was to be the northern 
arm of a giant pincer. The other 
arm of the pincer would be the 
Eighth Army. He was to sever the 
enemy's lines of communication at 
Mupyong-ni and then advance to 
the Yalu. He was to launch his 
attack on Monday, 27 November. 
Concurrently, the 7th Division 
would continue its advance north- 
ward to the Yalu. Almost 100 miles 
separated the two divisions. 
Strength returns for that day 
showed the 1st Marine Division as 

having 25,323 Americans with 110 
South Koreans attached, but of 
that number only about 15,000 
were up at the reservoir. Indeed, 
some units of the division were as 
far to the rear as Japan. A goodly 
number of hospitalized Marine 

patients were also carried in the 
total. The 7th Division strength on 
the same day was 16,001 men of 
whom 6,794 were South Korean 
KATUSA soldiers. 

Smith estimated the road dis- 
tance from Yudam-ni west to 
Mupyong-ni, over another moun- 
tain pass and then through a narrow 
valley, as being 55 miles. The divi- 
sion was then to advance north- 
ward to the Yalu. Almond's three 
columns — the 1st Marine Division, 
the 7th Infantry Division, and, 
nominally under his control, the 
ROK I Corps — were diverging like 
the ribs of an opened fan. The 7th 
Infantry Division was to complete 
its advance to the Yalu. The ROK 
corps was to advance to the 
Chinese border from the Hapsu 
and Chongjin areas. To the rear 
the newly arrived 3d Infantry 
Division, under General Soule, 
was given a multiplicity of mis- 
sions: gain contact with the right 
flank of the Eighth Army; protect 
the left flank of X Corps; support 
the 1st Marine Division on order; 
protect the harbor and airfield at 
Wonsan; and destroy guerrillas in its 
zone of action. The 3d Division 
was also to have had the task of 

Ry the third week in November a tent camp, mostly for combat service units had 
sprung up at Hagaru-ri. One observer said that the badly battered town remind- 
ed him of an Alaska gold-rush camp. In the foreground a bit of the narrow-gauge 
railroad track that once served Hagaru-ri can be seen. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4971 


National Archives Photo (USA) H1-SC352938 

Gen Douglas MacArthur came to Korea on 24 November to see the jump-off of 
the Eighth Army in the offensive that was to end the war. Two days later the Eighth 
Army was in full retreat. LtGen Walton H. "fohnnie" Walker, commanding gen- 
eral of the Eighth Army, seated behind MacArthur, would die in a traffic acci- 
dent one month later. 

Smith's rough plan was to have 
the 5th Marines pass through the 
7th Marines at Yudam-ni and then 
attack to the west. The 1st 
Marines, in reserve, was to occupy 
positions along the MSR at 
Chinhung-ni, Koto-ri, and Hagaru- 
ri. Supporting this plan, Almond 
decided that a regimental-sized 
force from Barr's 7th Division 
should relieve Murray's 5th 
Marines on the east side of the 
reservoir so that the 5th Marines 
could join the 7th Marines at 
Yudam-ni. He ordered Barr to 
send a regimental combat team for 
this purpose by 27 November. 

Barr, acting on local intelligence 
that the Chinese in massive num- 
bers had crossed the Yalu at 
Linchiang and were moving into 
the gap between his division and 

defending the area south of 
Hagaru-ri, but, with its other mis- 
sions, the best it could promise to 
do was take over the security of the 
MSR from Sudong back to 
Hamhung. It bothered Smith that 
the 3d Infantry Division had not 
yet closed behind him and that he 
would have to leave Puller's 1st 
Marines strung out along the MSR to 
keep it open from Hagaru-ri south 
to Chinhung-ni. 

advances on Both Sides 
of the Reservoir 

Davis with his 1st Battalion, 7th 
Marines, had led off the advance to 
Yudam-ni on Thanksgiving Day. 
He ran into a defense of Toktong 
Pass by an estimated 150-200 
Chinese, but scattered it with the 
aid of air and artillery. The battalion 
paused to celebrate Thanksgiving a 
day late, and then moved on into 
Yudam-ni on the 25th against negli- 
gible resistance. The 3d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, and Litzenberg's regimental 
headquarters followed Davis' bat- 
talion into the forlorn village. 

LtCol Don C. Faith, Jr., USA, right, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 32d 
Infantry, 7th Division, pictured with the regiment's commanding officer, Col Allan 
D. Maclean, in Japan in the spring of 1950. Except for limited experience dur- 
ing the battle for Seoul, Faith had not commanded a unit in combat prior to the 
Chosin Reservoir. 

Courtesy of Col Erwin B, Bigger, USA (Ret) 


the Marines, had already begun 
pulling together his scattered bat- 

RCT-31, as assembled by Barr 
and commanded by Colonel Allan 
D. MacLean, consisted of the 31st 
Infantry's Headquarters and 
Service Company, the regiment's 
2d and 3d Battalions, the 31st 
Tank Company, the 57th Field 
Artillery Battalion, Battery D of the 
self-propelled 15th Antiaircraft 
Artillery Automatic Weapons 

Battalion, and the 1st Battalion, 
32d Infantry, commanded by 
Lieutenant Colonel Don C. Faith, Jr. 

Don Faith, 32, six-feet-tall, 
handsome, and charismatic, was 
something of an Army golden boy. 
The son of an Army brigadier gen- 
eral, he had enlisted in 1941 and 
won his commission as a second 
lieutenant the following year. For 
three years of World War II, he 
served first in the 82d Airborne 
Division and then in the XVIII 

Airborne Corps as an aide to Major 
General Matthew B. Ridgway with 
whom he landed at Sicily and 
jumped into Normandy and 
Holland. Faith had worked for 
Barr in China. He had commanded 
the 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, for 
more than a year. In this new war 
he had been recommended for a 
Distinguished Service Cross for his 
performance between Inchon and 

Barr chose to pull Faith's battal- 
ion from the 32d Infantry and 
assign it to RCT-31 because it, in 
bivouac northeast of Hamhung, 
was the Army battalion closest to 
the reservoir. Faith on 24 Novem- 
ber had a strength of 715 
Americans and about 300 South 

Most of Faith's officers were 
well trained and combat experi- 
enced. Some had served in Europe 
during World War II, some in the 
Pacific. There was also a layer of 
battle-hardened senior noncom- 
missioned officers. The mix of 
Americans and South Koreans in 
the rank-and-file, however, was a 
problem, both in language and 
lack of training. The battalion, in its 
equipment and preparation for a 
winter campaign, was about on a 
par with the Marine battalions, in 
some ways better and in some 
ways not as good. "They were 
short of chains for their trucks. 
The only tentage they had were 
tent flies for their kitchens," said 
one observer. During the previous 
winter the 31st Infantry, stationed at 
Camp Crawford, Hokkaido, had 
received cold-weather training. 
Most of the men were issued Army 
winter parkas, shorter and less 
clumsy than the Navy parkas worn 
by the Marines. They had sweaters 
and pile liners of various sorts and 
shoe-pacs which were really rub- 
ber-and-leather hunter's boots. Be- 
lieved by the troops to have been 
provided by L. L. Bean, these 


National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC352537 

Ill-fated RCT-31, under Col Allan D. Maclean, USA, right, followed RCT-1 7 
ashore at Iwon. Here, on 12 November with the weather still mild, MajGen 
Almond gives Maclean some words of advice after presenting him with a Silver 
Star. MajGen Barr, Maclean's division commander, stands stolidly in the cen- 
ter. Two wecUs later Maclean would be dead. 

boots had been suitable in World 
War II in the wet cold of northern 
France and Germany. But, as the 
Marines were also learning, they 
were worse than no good in sub- 
zero temperatures. Faith himself 
did not like the shoe-pacs and 
wore galoshes over his leather 
combat boots. So did many other 
soldiers and Marines if they could 
get them. 

On Saturday morning, 25 
November, Faith and his battalion, 
the lead element of RCT-31, started 
up the icy road to the reservoir. At 
Hagaru-ri they took the right-hand 
fork in the road. Some miles up 
the eastern side of the reservoir 

Faith met Murray, the commander 
of the 5th Marines. Murray out- 
lined for him the disposition of his 
three battalions, all of which were 
now east of the reservoir. Taplett's 
3d Battalion, in the lead, had a 
good defensive position about 
four road miles north of the 
Pungnyuri-gang inlet. Earlier that 
day, a patrol from Taplett's battal- 
ion had almost reached the north- 
ern end of the reservoir before 
brushing up against a small party of 
Chinese. Murray designated an 
assembly area for Faith's battalion 
near the village of Twiggae. Faith 
set up his command post in a hut 
on a lower slope of Hill 1221. 

With the relief of RCT-5 by 
Faith's battalion, Marine opera- 
tions east of the reservoir would 
end. There was no sign of large- 
scale enemy activity. The soldiers 
were to stay under the operational 
control of the 1st Marine Division 
until the arrival of Colonel 
MacLean, the commanding officer, 
31st Infantry. Faith's command 
relationship to the 1st Marine 
Division was not clear. He asked 
Murray for instructions. Murray, 
who did not consider Faith to be 
under his command, said that he 
had none, but he did caution Faith 
not to move farther north without 
orders from the 7th Division. Once 
Murray departed, the only radio 
link between Faith and the 1st 
Marine Division would be that 
provided by his attached tactical 
air control party, led by Marine 
Captain Edward P. Stamford. He 
and his four-man team had been 
with the battalion since Seoul. 

Just before noon on the 26th, 
Brigadier General Henry I. Hodes, 
the 7th's assistant division com- 
mander, visited Faith at Hill 1221. 
Hodes, 51 years old, a West 
Pointer who had commanded the 
112th Infantry in Europe in World 
War II, and a future four-star gen- 
eral, told Faith that MacLean and 
the rest of the 31st RCT would 
soon be arriving. 

Smith Visits Ytuhm-ni 

On Sunday morning, 26 
November, Smith visited Yudam- 
ni. During the night he had been 
informed that the ROK II Corps, 
on the right flank of the Eighth 
Army, had been thrown back in 
the vicinity of Tokchon, about 70 air 
miles southwest of Yudam-ni. But 
as yet Smith had no notion of the 
extent of the disaster that had 
befallen the Eighth Army. Both 
Walker's G-2 and GHQ in Tokyo 
had badly underestimated the 


strength of the Chinese. One day 
into the offensive that MacArthur 
had blithely informed the press 
would end the war, the Chinese 
Thirteenth Army Group with 18 

divisions counterattacked Walker. 

From his helicopter on the way 
to Yudam-ni Smith could see no 
signs of enemy activity. As he 
entered in his log: 

I landed at what I thought 
was the CP of the 7th, but it 
proved to be the CP of the 1st 
Battalion, 7th. I had a visit 
with LtCol Davis, the Com- 
manding Officer, and got 
directions from him as to the 
location of the CP of the 7th, 
which was about 5000 yards 
south, up the road to Hagaru- 
ri. In making the landing at 
the regimental CP I discov- 
ered some of the limitations of 
helicopters. We first attempted 
to land on a gentle slope near 
the CP. As the pilot put his 
wheels down we slipped 
backwards on the ice and 
snow. After 4 or 5 tries we 
went down to the floor of the 
valley to land. The elevation 
here was about 4000 feet. At 
this altitude the helicopter 
does not have much hovering 
capability. There was no air 
stirring in the bottom of the 
valley and for the last 10 feet 
we simply dropped. We hit 
with quite a bump but no 
damage was done. Had there 
been a breeze it might have 
assisted us in hovering. 
Litzenberg's role now is to 
hold the Yudam-ni area while 
Murray passes through him to 
continue the advance to the 
westward. Litzenberg indicat- 
ed he would like to keep on 

Yudam-ni lay in the center of a 
broad valley surrounded by five 
great ridgelines. Moving counter- 
clockwise from the north, the 
ridges were given the prosaic but 
useful designations North, North- 
west, Southwest, South, and 
Southeast. The 7th Marines held a 
perimeter that commanded four of 
the five ridges — all but the North- 
west Ridge. Yudam-ni itself was a 
miserable collection of mud-and- 
thatch houses, battered by air 


attacks and now abandoned by 
their owners. The road that was 
the lifeline of the 1st Marine 
Division forked at Yudam-ni. One 
fork continued to the north. The 
other opened to the west, going as 
far as Mupyong-ni, before turning 
north and continuing to Kanggye. 

On 26 November the 7th 
Marines reported the capture of 
three Chinese soldiers from the 
60th CCF Division and learned 
from them that the 58th, 59th, and 
60th CCF Divisions, making up the 
20th CCF Army, were in the vicin- 
ity of Yudam-ni. 

I sl Marines Button I p 
Division Rear 

RCT-l had to wait several days 
for rail transport to take them the 70 
miles north from Wonsan to 
Chigyong. The regiment's 1st Bat- 
talion relieved the 3d Battalion, 5th 
Marines, at Chinhung-ni on 
Thanksgiving. Two days later the 
regiment's 2d Battalion, along with 
Puller's regimental headquarters, 
took over Koto-ri from the 2d 
Battalion, 5th Marines. Smith now 
had his regiments fairly close 
together, but further movement 

was hindered by a shortage of 
motor transport. 

Two-thirds of the 3d Battalion, 1st 
Marines, arrived at Hagaru-ri during 
the early evening of Monday, 26 
November. The battalion comman- 
der, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas L. 
Ridge, 35 and University of Illinois 
1938, had been a naval attache in 
Brazil for much of World War II but 
had reached the Pacific as an intel- 
ligence officer in time for Iwo Jima 
and Okinawa, where he was twice 
wounded. The motor march to 
Hagaru-ri was uneventful except 
for snarls in traffic. Because of the 
shortage of trucks, Captain Carl L. 
Sitter's George Company, rein- 
forced with a provisional platoon 
from Weapons Company, had to 
be left behind at Chigyong. 

Relief of Lieutenant Colonel 
Randolph S. D. Lockwood's 2d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, had to wait 
until morning. Lockwood, 37, U.S. 
Naval Academy 1936 and Harvard 
1940, had just taken over the bat- 
talion from Major "Buzz" Sawyer 
on 9 November. Lockwood had 
spent most of World War II as a 
staff officer in Hawaii. The com- 
bat-experienced Sawyer stayed on 
as battalion executive officer. 

On 25 November, the 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, along with Col Puller's regimental 
headquarters, relieved the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, at Koto-ri. Next day, this 
heavy machine gun squad, with its water-cooled Browning M191 7A1, follows 
behind two well-deployed rifle platoons making a reconnaissance in force 
toward the first range of hills. 

Photo by Cpl W. T. Wolfe, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4866 

x - - - Mi "3 • -> 

The new-arrivals at Hagaru-ri 
watched the engineers hack away at 
the frozen earth in their effort to 
build an airstrip capable of han- 
dling Air Force C-47 and Marine R- 
4D transports. The 1st Medical 
Battalion under Commander 
Howard A. Johnson set up a clear- 
ing station close to the strip for the 
expected flow of casualties. Extra 
surgical teams were flown into 
Hagaru-ri. The hospital ship 
Consolation (AH 15) moved up to 
Hungnam from Wonsan. The 1st 
Marine Division 400-bed hospital 
at Hungnam had an annex of 150 
more beds at Hamhung. 

Smith informed Fleet Marine 
Force, Pacific, and Headquarters 
Marine Corps, that, unless he 
received word to the contrary, he 
was sending his assistant division 
commander, Brigadier General 
Craig, home on emergency leave. 
Craig had received the bad news 
that his father had suffered a cere- 
bral thrombosis and that the prog- 
nosis was unfavorable. Craig left 
for the States on Monday morning, 
27 November. 

The Chinese 

The Marines were gradually 
learning about the new enemy. 
The term used for them by the U.S. 
and other English-speaking forces 
was "CCF" or "Chinese Communist 
Forces." Marines would learn that a 
CCF division, with its three infantry 
regiments and an artillery battalion 
(more theoretical than real in 
1950), numbered about 8,000 men. 
A CCF regiment would average 
about 2,200 men, organized into 
three infantry battalions, some- 
times with an artillery battery, 
more often with a mortar company, 
and several meager support com- 
panies. In the forward areas the 
Chinese had little or no motor 
transport. Things were pulled in 
carts by man or beast or carried on 


Marine Corps Historical Center Photo Collection 
Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese did not attack in "human waves, " but in 
compact combat groups of 50 to 100 men. Here one such group makes its way 
up a snow-clad hill. The 1st Marine Division came into contact with the major 
portion of the Chinese Ninth Army Group, which, with 12 divisions, totaled about 
150,000 men. 

the backs of men, either Chinese 
soldiers or impressed Korean 
porters. The CCF infantry battal- 
ion, on paper at least, looked 
much like the Marines' own battal- 
ions: three rifle companies and a 
machine gun or heavy weapons 
company. The rifle companies 
similarly had three rifle platoons 
and a 60mm mortar section or pla- 
toon. The individual Chinese soldier 
was physically tough, uncomplain- 
ing, and used to long marches 
with few if any creature comforts. 
Politically he had been thoroughly 
indoctrinated, but once taken pris- 
oner that indoctrination would 
tend to crack. 

Collectively, his armament was a 
mixed bag of weapons gained 
from the surrender of the 
Japanese, the collapse of the 
Chinese Nationalist government — 
and its mixture of American, 
British, German, Czech, and other 
weapons — and the more recent 
issue of Russian weapons by the 
Soviet Union. But the Chinese 
army, at least in this stage of the 

war, was never equipped as uni- 
formly or as well as the North 
Korean army had been. For the 
most part, the Chinese soldier 
wore a two-piece padded uniform 
with a cap to match, fairly ade- 
quate of themselves against the 
cold, but paired off with canvas 
"sneakers." They seldom had 
gloves or mittens and depended 
upon tucking their hands into the 
sleeves of their coats to keep them 
warm. Signal communications 
were primitive in the extreme. 
Commonly the Chinese used the 
SCR-300, captured from the 
Chinese Nationalists, as their back- 
packed radio, the same radio used 
by the Marine infantry. Radio nets 
almost never went below the regi- 
mental level. Telephone wire was 
seldom strung beneath the battalion 
level. Below the battalion, com- 
munications was by runner sup- 
plemented with bugles, whistles, 
flares, and flashlights. 

Lacking adequate communica- 
tions at the front, Chinese attack 
patterns tended to be rigid and 

repetitive. Once committed, a 
Chinese battalion would usually 
stay in contact until completely 
shredded by casualties or until all 
its ammunition was used up. 
There was little or no battlefield 

Lin Piao had been concerned 
over the capability of the poorly 
equipped Chinese to fight the 
Americans, but Peng Dehuai ham- 
mered home to his senior subordi- 
nate officers his belief that 
Americans were afraid of close 
combat, a tactic in which the 
Chinese Communist troops ex- 
celled. Peng himself was a special- 
ist in what the Chinese called a 
"short attack," hammering away at 
enemy defenses with successive 
compact combat groups, usually 
not more than a company in size, 
until a breakthrough or puncture 
was achieved, a tactic not unlike 
that used by German storm troops 
in the last years of World War I. 

U.S. Marines' and soldiers' 
imaginations sometimes magnified 
what they saw and heard while 
under attack. The Western press 
was soon filled with fantasies of 
"human sea attacks" by "hordes" 
of Chinese. Chinese propaganda 
photographs and films showing 
wave after wave of Chinese 
advancing in line across the snow 
with bravely flying red banners 
reinforced these exaggerations. 
The truth was quite different. 
Hearing or reading such reports, 
the Marine infantry, those who 
were really there, would later ask 
derisively: "How many hordes are 
there in a Chinese platoon?" 

RCT-3 1 East of the Reservoir 

In mid-afternoon on 26 
November, Colonel MacLean and 
his command group arrived at 
Faith's position on Hill 1221. Faith, 
ignoring Murray's caution, re- 
ceived MacLean's permission to 


move his battalion forward the 
next morning to the position vacat- 
ed by Taplett's battalion. 

MacLean set up his regimental 
command post in a schoolhouse in 
Hudong-ni, a village about a mile 
south of Hill 1221. A big, robust, 
aggressive man, MacLean was 43, a 
graduate of West Point, Class of 
1930, and a veteran of the 
European theater. Barr had given 
him command of the 31st Infantry 
about two months earlier, replacing 
a commander who had not done 
well in the Inchon to Seoul drive. 
Before that MacLean had been in 
the G-3 Section of the Eighth 
Army. Previously, in Japan, he had 
commanded the 32d Infantry and he 
knew Faith well. 

Sili Marines' 27 November Attack 

Of the 1st Marine Division's 
planned attack to the west, Ray 
Murray later said: "It was unbeliev- 
able. The more you think about it, 
the more unreal it becomes. Well, 
anyhow, those were the orders 
and that's what we started to do." 

All elements of Murray's RCT-5 
were to be relieved by Monday 
noon, 27 November, so as to take 
positions at Yudam-ni preparatory 
to passing through RCT-7 to lead the 
advance to Mupyong-ni. First 
objective for the regiment, once it 
was altogether, was to be the road 
junction at Yongnim-dong, 27 road 
miles to the west. 

By nightfall on 26 November, 
Roise's 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 
was in its attack position at 
Yudam-ni. His company comman- 
ders gathered in his blackout tent at 
2200 to receive the attack order. 
Two Corsairs from VMF-312 for 
close support and a "Grasshop- 
per" from VMO-6 for aerial recon- 
naissance were promised. The 7th 
Marines would support Roise's 
attack with patrols and a sec- 
ondary attack to the southwest. 

The temperature at Yudam-ni dur- 
ing the night went down to zero 
degrees Fahrenheit. 

In the morning Fox Company, 
under Captain Uel D. Peters, led 
off the 5th Marines' attack with an 
advance up the road leading west- 
ward. Peters' first objective was a 
spur about 500 yards beyond the 
7th Marines perimeter. Almost 
immediately his Marines were 
engaged by long-range small arms 
fire. The VMO-6 spotter plane, 
overhead as promised, reported 
Chinese positions all across the 
front. At 1115, Corsairs from VMF- 
312 dumped rockets and bombs 
on the Chinese emplacements in 
front of Fox Company. As Peters 
began his assault, Chinese soldiers 
could be seen fleeing to the west. 
Three prisoners were taken. 

Dog Company, under Captain 
Samuel S. Smith, had followed 
behind Peters and at about noon 
joined in the fight. Altogether 
Roise's battalion advanced about a 
mile. At 1430, Roise ordered Peters 
and Smith to break off the attack 

and set up night defensive posi- 

The 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, in 
its attack to the southwest, had 
advanced about the same distance, 
about a mile, before running into 
stiffening opposition. The battalion 
had a new commander: Lieutenant 
Colonel William F. Harris, 32, 
Naval Academy 1936, who had 
taken over from Major Roach on 
11 November. He was the son of 
Major General Field Harris. As a 
captain he had been serving with 
the 4th Marines when it was sur- 
rendered to the Japanese on 
Corregidor in the Philippines. He 
had spent the war as a prisoner of 
war and was one of four former 
prisoners to witness the Japanese 
surrender on board the battleship 
Missouri (BB 63). A big man with an 
easy manner he was immediately 
liked by the Marines in his battalion. 

At noon Taplett's 3d Battalion, 
5th Marines, arrived at Yudam-ni, 
after a hard five-hour motor march 
from the east side of the reservoir, 
and was assigned an assembly area 

Marines, probably members of the 5th Marines, take a roadside break while on 

the march from Hagaru-ri to Yudam-ni on 27 November. This photo shows very 

clearly the nature and condition of the MSR or "main supply route" that was the 

division's lifeline from Yudam-ni back toHungnam. 

National Archives Photo (USN) 80-G-424585 


west of the village where the road 
forked to the north and west. 
Taplett understood that his battalion 
was to follow Roise's 2d Battalion 
when the attack was resumed in 
the morning. 

The 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 
now under Lieutenant Colonel 
John Stevens, did not arrive until 
dusk and was given an assembly 
area east of the village. 
Meanwhile, the 2d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, was completing its motor 
march, company by company, but 
without Randolph Lockwood, the 
battalion's new commander, who 
stayed behind in Hagaru-ri. 

Units of the 5th and 7th Marines 
were now thoroughly intermixed 
and would become more so, but 
there was no specific jointure of 
command. Brigadier General 
Craig, the assistant division com- 
mander, might have been given 
command of the two regiments 
combined into a task force, but he 
was home on emergency leave. 
Colonel Litzenberg was much 
senior to Lieutenant Colonel 
Murray, and perhaps Smith 
thought that was all the overall 
command authority needed. 
Litzenberg had positioned his 
command post for the 7th Marines 
in the center of Yudam-ni. 
Murray's command post for the 
5th Marines was some distance 
away in the northwest corner of 
the village. 

During the day Almond, accom- 
panied by an aide and an assistant 
operations officer, drove by jeep 
to Yudam-ni from his command 
post at Hamhung, Arriving at the 
7th Marines command post unex- 
pectedly, he found Litzenberg 
absent but his executive officer, 
Lieutenant Colonel Frederick R. 
Dowsett, 39, present. Tall, lanky, 
Dowsett briefed him on the enemy 
situation and the disposition of the 
regiment. Almond passed out 
three Silver Stars, one to an officer 

and two to enlisted Marines, and 
then late in the afternoon began 
his return to Hamhung. The MSR 
was jammed with traffic going in 
both directions. In his opinion, the 
traffic was poorly controlled. The 
drive took nearly five hours. That 
night he reported to GHQ in 
Tokyo that the strength of the 
enemy was considerable and that 
the disposition of the Marines 
needed to be reexamined. 

Hagaru-ri, 27 November 

At Hagaru-ri, Ridge's 3d 
Battalion, 1st Marines, completed 
the relief of Lockwood's 2d Bat- 
talion, 7th Marines, on the morning 
of 27 November. Companies D 
and E of Lockwood's battalion had 
already arrived at Yudam-ni. While 
they waited for their own battal- 
ion commander, Litzenberg 
attached the two companies to 
Davis' 1st Battalion. 

Lockwood, in accordance with 
Smith's directive to Litzenberg, 
now led forward his remaining 
rifle company, Fox Company, to 
occupy Toktong Pass. He gave 
Captain William E. Barber orders 
to move off the road, beginning 
four miles north of Hagaru, with 
the mission of keeping open three 
miles of the MSR. Lockwood then 
returned to Hagaru-ri where his 
Headquarters Company and the 
remainder of his Weapons 
Company were awaiting trucks to 
take them on to Yudam-ni. The 
trucks never came. Lockwood 
himself, and the remainder of his 
battalion, would never get to 

When Captain Barber took com- 
mand of Fox Company on 7 
November, he made a little 
speech, telling his company that 
he was "an infantiyman and a hell 
of a good one at that." Born in 
Kentucky in 1919, he had enlisted 
in the Marine Corps in 1940. He 

went through parachute training, 
doing so well that he stayed on as 
an instructor. He was commis- 
sioned in 1943, and as a platoon 
leader at Iwo Jima with the 26th 
Marines, he was wounded and 
evacuated. Refusing to stay hospi- 
talized, he came back to take com- 
mand of a company. For this he 
received a Silver Star and his first 
Purple Heart. 

Ridge, faced with the mission of 
defending Hagaru with two-thirds 
of a battalion, sent Major Joseph 
D. Trompeter, his S-3, and Major 
Edwin H. Simmons, his Weapons 
Company commander and sup- 
porting arms coordinator, on a 
walking reconnaissance. Trom- 
peter and Simmons found that to 
enclose all of Hagaru-ri would 
require a perimeter of four miles, an 
impossible task for a single 
infantry battalion at two-thirds 
strength. Ridge estimated that one 
to two regiments would be 
required for a thorough defense. 

"Under the circumstances and 
considering the mission assigned 
to the 1st Marine Division," 
General Smith would later com- 
ment, "an infantry component of 
one battalion was all that could be 
spared for the defense of Hagaru," 
adding with the benefit of hind- 
sight, "This battalion was very ade- 
quately supported by air, and had 
sufficient artillery and tanks for its 

Captain Benjamin S. Read's 
How Battery, 3d Battalion, 11th 
Marines, which had been shooting 
for the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 
was already in place in the north- 
east corner of the sketchy perime- 
ter. Now it would have to divide its 
fire missions between the defense 
of Fox Company in Toktong Pass 
and the Hagaru-ri perimeter and at 
the same time provide its own 
defense for its segment of the 
perimeter. "Our lives centered on 
our 105mm howitzers, and our 


Photo by Cpl L. _ B. Snyder, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4644 
Capt William E. Barber took command of Fox Company, 2d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, on 7 November. A seasoned combat leader, he had commanded a pla- 
toon and company atlwo Jima. He demanded a lot from his Marines and he got 
it. Shortly before leaving Hagaru-ri to take position in Toktong Pass, he held a 
rifle inspection for his company. 

mission was to support the 
infantry," said Captain Read crisply 
a short time later. 

Captain Andrew J. Stroh- 
menger's Dog Battery, 2d 
Battalion, 11th Marines, had 
arrived at Hagaru-ri with Ridge's 
3d Battalion, 1st Marines. The bat- 
talion and battery had worked 
together before, notably at Majon- 
ni, and were old friends. 
Strohmenger's battery went into 
position on the flats just southeast 
of the village. 

The extreme cold affected the 
recoil systems of the howitzers 
and the reach of their shells. The 
guns were slow in coming back 
into battery and the extreme range 
was cut down from 12,200 yards to 
something like 9,000-9,500 yards. 

Not being able to be strong 
everywhere, Ridge decided to con- 
centrate his two rifle companies, 
How and Item, in a salient south- 
west of the not yet operational, 
but all-important, airstrip. The 
other greatest threat to Hagaru-ri 
was the hill mass just east of the 

town that would come to be called 
"East Hill." 

Beyond the airstrip, First 
Lieutenant Joseph R. "Bull" 
Fisher's Item Company improved 

the positions vacated by Barber's 
Fox Company by blasting deeper 
foxholes with "Composition C" 
plastic explosive. On Fisher's left 
flank, Captain Clarence E. Corley's 
How Company extended the line 
until it tied in with the right flank of 
Strohmenger's Dog Battery, 11th 
Marines. The frozen marsh in front 
of Dog Battery was covered with 
fire but left unmanned. The 
perimeter picked up again with a 
roadblock held by a portion of 
Weapons Company across the 
road running south to Koto-ri. East 
Hill remained unoccupied. Ridge 
planned to put George Company 
on the hill when it arrived from 
the south. Service Battalion held 
the roadblock on the road that led 
northeast of the reservoir. Some- 
where out there on the east side of 
the reservoir was the Army col- 
umn that would come to be called 
"Task Force Faith," named for its 
doomed commander. The rest of 
the perimeter was patched togeth- 
er with bits and pieces of the 
Service Battalion, the division's 

A 105mm fires a mission from its position close to the airstrip at Hagaru-ri. The 
two batteries of artillery — Capt Benjamin S. Read's Battery H, 3d Battalion, and 
Capt Andrew J. Strohmenger's Battery D, 2d Battalion, both of the 11th 
Marines — were essential to the defense of the Hagaru-ri perimeter. 

Photo by TSgt V. Jobs, National Archives Photo (USMC) 1 27-N-A1 30286 


Chinese Order of Battle 

Ninth CCFArmy Group 

20th CCFArmy 

26th CCFArmy 

27th CCFArmy 

58th CCF Division 

76th CCF Division 

79th CCF Division 

59th CCF Division 

77th CCF Division 

80th CCF Division 

60th CCF Division 

78th CCF Division 

81st CCF Division 

89th CCF Division 

88th CCF Division 

90th CCF Division 

Source: Montross & Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir Campaign (1957). The fourth division in 
each army was not organic. The 88th, 89tb, and 90th CCF Divisions were attached from the 
30th CCF Army. Some other, later, authorities, Chinese as well as American, show the 90th 
CCF Division as the 94th CCF Division from the 32d CCFArmy. 

Headquarters Battalion, and odds 
and ends left behind by the 7th 
Marines, until it closed again on 
Item Company's right flank. At the 
northern-most edge of the perime- 
ter, Read's How Battery, 11th 
Marines, like Strohmenger's bat- 
tery, was used as a frontline unit. 

Lockwood received orders from 
Litzenberg to move to Toktong 
Pass to assist Fox Company. He 
borrowed a platoon from Ridge's 
battalion as an escort, but the 
effort went nowhere. Tank- 
infantry patrols sent out to the 
north toward Yudam-ni and to the 
south toward Koto-ri were pushed 
back in by mid-afternoon. 

East of the reservoir, Monday 
morning, 27 November, Colonel 
MacLean, commanding RCT-31, 
went forward, accompanied by 
Lieutenant Colonel Faith, and 
together they inspected the lines 
vacated by the Marines. MacLean 
then selected a forward command 
post site south of Faith's intended 
new position. 

Chinese Order of Battle 

It was not yet known with cer- 
tainty, but the scattered Chinese 
elements encountered earlier by 
Murray's 5th Marines were from 
the 80th Division of the 27th 
Army, Ninth Army Group. Com- 
manded by Sung Shih-lun, the 
Ninth Army Group, with a total of 
11 and possibly 12 divisions, con- 
sisted of three "armies," the 20th, 
26th, and 27th, each roughly 
equivalent to a U.S. corps in front- 
line infantry strength. Sung Shih-lun 
was the equivalent of a lieutenant 
general, but the Chinese 
Communist Forces had not yet 
adopted Western military grades. 
Rank was indicated by billet held. 
Sung, like Peng, was his own 
political commissar. The Ninth 
Army Group had been poised to 
invade Taiwan after having cap- 

tured Shanghai from the 
Nationalists. At Mao's direction 
Peng had brought Sung up from 
the Shanghai area and had sent 
him into Korea with specific 
orders to destroy X Corps. Peng's 
headquarters, it will be remem- 
bered, estimated that Sung could 
bring 150,000 troops against 
90,000 men, a close guess at the 
strength of X Corps, giving him a 
1.7 to 1 advantage. 

Mao, in a telegram sent to Peng 
on 12 November, said: "It is said 
that the American Marine First 
Division has the highest combat 
effectiveness in the American 
armed forces." Sung would make 
the destruction of the 1st Marine 
Division, as the strongest of the 
American divisions, his main 

Sung's information as to the 
location of Marine Corps units was 
excellent. His plan, as later pieced 
together by U.S. intelligence, was as 
follows: The 27th Army — except 
for the 80th Division, which was to 
come down the east side of the 
reservoir — was charged with at- 
tacking the two Marine regiments at 
Yudam-ni. The 20th Army was to 
cut the MSR or main supply route 
south of Yudam-ni, including 
attacks against Hagaru-ri and 
Koto-ri. The 26th, initially in 
reserve, would not come into the 
fight until somewhat later. Sung 

was to launch his attack the night 
of 25 November, simultaneous 
with the assault to the west against 
the Eighth Army, but he was not 
quite ready and he secured Peng's 
approval to delay his attack for 
two days. 

Early on the afternoon of 27 
November, Faith completed the 
move of his battalion into the 
positions vacated by Taplett's 3d 
Battalion, 5th Marines. It was a 
typical Marine Corps perimeter, 
horseshoe shaped and occupying 
the high ground. Each of the 
exposed sides was occupied by 
one of Faith's rifle companies, the 
battalion command post was in 
the center, and the open side to 
the rear was covered by elements 
of his Headquarters and Service 
Company and Weapons Company. 
Lacking the strength in men and 
weapons of a Marine battalion, 
Faith could not fill all the foxholes. 

MacLean, who had returned to 
Hudong-ni, was told that several 
hundred Chinese had been sighted 
east of the Pungnyuri-gang inlet. 
He sent out his Intelligence and 
Reconnaissance Platoon to investi- 
gate. The platoon roared out of 
the compound in its machine gun 
mounted jeeps and was never 
seen again. 

The 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, 
commanded by Lieutenant Colo- 
nel William R. Reilly, arrived that 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4886 

LtCol Randolph S. D. Lockwood, Commanding Officer, 2d reach Fox Company in Toktong Pass with elements of his H&S 
Battalion, 7th Marines, had allowed his headquarters to Company and Weapons Company shown here. The effort 
become separated from his rifle companies. On 27 failed. 
November, on orders from Col Litzenberg, he attempted to 

afternoon, followed by the 57th 
Field Artillery Battalion, com- 
manded by Lieutenant Colonel 
Raymond Embree. MacLean put 
Embree's battalion — which was 
minus its Battery C — into a 
bivouac area near the hamlet of 
Sinhung-ni, just south of 
Pungnyuri-gang inlet. The two fir- 
ing batteries were positioned on 
the south side of the inlet on low 
ground surrounded on three sides 
by ridges. Embree placed his 
artillery headquarters a mile or so 
farther south on the slope of Hill 
1456. Battery D of the 15th 
Antiaircraft Automatic Weapons 
Battalion, with four full-track M19 
weapons carriers mounting dual 
40mm guns and four half-tracked 
Ml6 carriers bearing quad ,50-cal- 
iber machine guns, was set up 
close to Embree's headquarters. 

The 31st Heavy Mortar 
Company, with its 4.2-inch mor- 
tars, moved into a position close to 
MacLean's forward command post 
and about halfway between Faith's 
battalion and Reilly's battalion. 

Meanwhile, the 31st Tank Com- 
pany, with 20 M-4A4 Sherman 
tanks and two 105mm howitzer 
tanks, had reached Hudong-ni. 

Thus, on the evening of 27 
November, elements of MacLean's 
RCT-31 were stretched out on the 
road for 10 miles in seven different 
positions. By nightfall, or shortly 
thereafter, Faith, on the northern 
end with his 1st Battalion, 32d 
Infantry, had registered his 
artillery and mortar defensive fires. 
At about this time he received 
orders from MacLean to attack the 
next morning toward Kalchon-ni. 
MacLean himself spent the night at 
Faith's headquarters. 

Sung Shi-lun, it will be remem- 
bered, had allocated his 80th 
Division to the attack east of the 
reservoir. Shortly before midnight a 
firefight developed on Company 
A's front on the forward edge of 
Faith's position. The company 
commander was killed. Stamford, 
the Marine captain, took tempo- 
rary command. The Chinese attack 
spread until it encompassed the 

rest of the battalion perimeter. 

South of the inlet, the two firing 
batteries of Embree's 57th Field 
Artillery Battalion and Reilly's 3d 
Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 
came under heavy attack from the 
east. The Chinese overran the 3d 
Battalion's command post and 
both artillery batteries. Reilly was 
severely wounded. Farther south, 
mortar shells began falling on 
Embree's artillery headquarters. 
Embree, in turn, was badly 

\ udam-ni, 2" November 

As darkness fell on the 27th at 
Yudam-ni, Captain Wilcox's 
Company B, 7th Marines, which 
had been patrolling South Ridge, 
came under heavy attack. 
Lieutenant Colonel Davis, com- 
manding the 1st Battalion, 
received permission from Litz- 
enberg to take a company to extri- 
cate Wilcox. Davis led Charlie 
Company, less one of its rifle pla- 
toons and commanded by Captain 


John F. Morris, down the MSR to 
positions across the road from Hill 
1419. Baker Company pulled itself 
loose from its engagement and 
Davis took it back into Yudam-ni, 
leaving Morris' Charlie Company 
to occupy Hill 1419 — about two 
miles south of the incomplete 
perimeter. With less than a full 
company, Morris organized a cres- 
cent-shaped defense on an eastern 
spur of Hill 1419, well below the 

Unknown to Litzenberg and 
Murray as yet was that almost sur- 
rounding them at Yudam-ni were 
the 79th and 81st CCF Divisions. 

Furthermore, the 59th CCF 
Division had begun a wide 
enveloping movement past South 
Ridge and on south to cut the MSR 
at Toktong Pass, held only by Fox 
Company, 7th Marines. 

Artillery support at Yudam-ni 
was provided initially by Major 
Parry's 3d Battalion, 11th 
Marines — three batteries of 105mm 
howitzers, 18 tubes in all, enough 
to support a regiment in a narrow 
zone of attack, but not enough to 
provide adequate 360-degree sup- 
port for a sprawling two-regiment 
defensive sector. Fortunately, 
among the Marine forces converg- 

Toward the end of the day on 27 November, two Marines at Yudam-ni help a 
wounded comrade reach an aid station. Heavy action at Yudam-ni had begun 
that morning when elements of both the 5th and 7th Marines made an attack west- 
ward, were halted, and fell back to defensive positions. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4904 

ing on Yudam-ni, during that busy 
27th of November, was the 4th 
Battalion, 11th Marines, command- 
ed by Major William McReynolds, 
with three batteries of its heavier 
155mm howitzers — 18 more tubes. 
All would be in action before mid- 

That night the temperature 
dropped to 20 degrees below 
zero. Northwest Ridge, the last 
ridge to be occupied, now had a 
Marine presence, a frontline of 
foxholes chipped out of the frozen 
ground and occupied by tired and 
cold-benumbed Marines. How 
Company, 7th Marines, command- 
ed by Captain Leroy M. Cooke, 
held Hill 1403, the high point on 
Northwest Ridge. On How 
Company's left flank were Easy 
and Fox Companies of Roise's 2d 
Battalion, 5th Marines, occupying 
the rest of the ridge until it 
dropped down to the defile 
through which passed the road to 
the west. Roise had his command 
post behind the juncture of these 
two companies. A roadblock 
manned largely by Weapons 
Company covered the road west- 
ward. On the other side of the 
road, Dog Company curled back 
toward Southwest Ridge. 

Taplett, uneasy with the situa- 
tion, turned the assembly area 
assigned his 3d Battalion, 5th 
Marines, into its own defensive 
perimeter. His command post was 
in a draw behind Hill 1282. He 
sent a platoon from Item Company 
to outpost a spur of Hill 1384 
about 500 yards forward of his 
command post. The outpost began 
receiving harassing fire at 2045. 

The 89th CCF Division's attack 
against Northwest Ridge, with two 
regiments, the 266th and the 
267th, began at about 2200. The 
Chinese suddenly hit all along the 
line with sub-machine guns and 
grenades supported by machine 
gun fire and an intense mortar bar- 


Sketch by Sgt Ralph Schofield, USMCR 

This BAR-man, as sketched by combat artist Sgt Schofield, Some BAR-men threw away their bipods to lighten their 
sights in his Browning automatic rifle. It still has its bipod, load, reducing the BAR to an assault rifle, 
making it an efficient substitute for a light machine gun. 

rage. This attack apparently aimed 
at fixing the Marines in position 
while a dense column of Chinese 
assaulted the line on a narrow 
front against the boundary 
between Easy and Fox Companies. 
This assault penetrated the 
Marines' position, overrunning 
Fox Company's right flank pla- 
toon. Captain Samuel Jaskilka (a 
future four-star Assistant Com- 
mandant), commanding Easy 
Company, turned back his left 
flank to cover the penetration. 
Roise pounded the Chinese salient 
with his 81mm mortars and sent 
up a platoon from Dog Company to 
reinforce Fox Company's ruptured 
right flank. A great number of 
Chinese were killed and by dawn 
the break in the line had been 

Things went less well in the 
fight that had begun for posses- 
sion of Hill 1403. Captain Cooke, 
How Company's commander, had 

deployed his three rifle platoons 
in a semi-circle on the forward 
edge of the crest of the hill. His 
right flank crumbled under the 
weight of an assault by the 266th 
CCF Regiment. Cooke himself 
bravely led a counterattack to 
restore his line and was cut down 
by Chinese machine gun fire. 
Second Lieutenant James M. 
Mitchell took temporary charge of 
the company until First Lieutenant 
Howard H. Harris, who had earlier 
commanded the company, could 
get there from battalion. Harris (no 
relation to Lieutenant Colonel 
William Harris, commanding the 
3d Battalion) arrived at about mid- 
night and found only one How 
Company officer, Second Lieuten- 
ant Minard P. Newton, Jr., still on his 
feet. The Chinese again assaulted 
Hill 1403 at about 0300. After an 
hour of pounding, Lieutenant 
Colonel Harris ordered the bat- 
tered How Company to withdraw to 

the rear of the 2d Battalion, 5th 
Marines, leaving Hill 1403 in 
Chinese hands. 

Baltic lor North Ridge 

Concurrently with the assault of 
Northwest Ridge, the 79th CCF 
Division, with three regiments, 
had moved against North Ridge, 
held by two widely separated 
companies of the 2d Battalion, 7th 
Marines — Dog Company on Hill 
1240 and Easy Company on Hill 
1282. Separating the two hilltops 
was a long saddle. (The battalion's 
third rifle company, Fox Company, 
it will be remembered, had been 
dropped off at Toktong Pass and 
Lockwood and his headquarters 
were still at Hagaru-ri.) 

The 235th CCF Regiment 
attacked in a column of battalions 
against Hill 1282 at about mid- 
night. Easy Company, under 
Captain Walter Phillips, held its 


ground against the first attack. 
Simultaneously, the 236th CCF 
Regiment, following behind the 
235th, was feeling out Dog 
Company's position on Hill 1240. 

Anticipating an attack against 
North Ridge, Murray had moved 
Stevens' 1st Battalion out of its 
assembly area northward to the 
reverse slope of Hill 1282. First 
elements of Able Company 
reached a spur of Hill 1282 barely 
in time to reinforce Easy 
Company, 7th Marines, which was 
being pummeled by the 1st 
Battalion, 235th CCF Regiment. 
Easy Company's commander, 
Captain Phillips was killed and 
would receive a posthumous Navy 
Cross. His executive officer, First 
Lieutenant Raymond O. Ball, took 
over command, was several times 
wounded, and died in the battalion 
aid station. Command devolved 
upon the senior platoon leader, 
First Lieutenant Robert E. Snyder. 
Easy Company had been reduced to 
the size of a single platoon, and by 
daylight the Chinese had taken the 
crest of Hill 1282. 

The crest of Hill 1240 to the east 
had also fallen. Chinese from the 
3d Battalion, 236th CCF Regiment, 
had overrun the command post of 
big, burly Captain Milton Hull, the 
company commander of Dog 
Company. At about 0300, Hull, 
wounded, counterattacked with 
the few squads at his disposal, 
won back a foothold, and was 
wounded again. When dawn came 
he could count only 16 Marines 
left with him, and the enemy had 
him surrounded. 

During the night some Chinese 
had crossed the saddle that sepa- 
rated the Dog and Easy Company 
positions and had taken the 5th 
and 7th Marines' command posts 
under fire. Some time before mid- 
night, a few half-dressed mortar 
men from How Company, 7th 
Marines, beaten back from Hill 

1403, found their way into 
Taplett's 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 
perimeter. A message from How 
Company, 7th Marines — that part 
that still remained on Hill 1403 — 
reached Taplett, warning him that 
the Chinese were flanking his 
position. At about 0145, Taplett's 
outposted platoon on Hill 1384 
received increasingly heavy fire. 
Shortly thereafter a CCF force, esti- 
mated at two companies, overran 
the outpost. Taplett's command 
post became the bull's eye of the 
fight. Major John J. Canney, the 
battalion executive officer and a 
World War II aviator turned 
infantryman, was killed. 

South of Yuikim-ni 

At 0230, with the assaults 
against North and Northwest 
Ridges at their height, the Chinese 
also struck Charlie Company, 
under Captain Morris, on the spur 
of Hill 1419 two miles south of 
Yudam-ni. Morris' Marines held on 
grimly until dawn when artillery 
fire finally made the Chinese break 
off their attack. But, with a third of 
his men casualties, Morris was 
effectively pinned into position by 
Chinese fire continuing to rain 
down from the heights. His 
Marines could do nothing more 
than hold their position and hope 
that help would come from 

While the 79th and 89th CCF 
Divisions savaged the Marines on 
Northwest and North Ridges, the 
59th CCF Division completed its 
wide sweeping movement to the 
southeast, putting itself in position 
to cut the 14 miles of vital MSR 
between Yudam-ni and Hagaru-ri. 
Until midnight on 27 November 
truck traffic on the MSR was still 
active and unimpeded — mostly 
empty trucks from Lieutenant 
Colonel Beall's 1st Motor Trans- 
port Battalion rattling their way 

back to Hagaru-ri, having deliv- 
ered the last serials of the 1st 
Battalion, 5th Marines, and the 4th 
Battalion, 11th Marines, to Yudam- 

Captain Barber had gone into 
position at Toktong Pass with a 
near full-strength Fox Company 
reinforced with sections of water- 
cooled Browning machine guns 
and 81mm mortars from Weapons 
Company, 2d Battalion — a total of 
240 officers and men. Barber 
chose to organize his defensive 
perimeter on a hill at the mid- 
point of the pass. "We arrived in the 
late afternoon after which we 
unloaded and were positioned for 
the night," remembered Corporal 
Howard W. Koone. "Our position 
was off to the right of the road up 
on a saddle-like hill. The ground 
was like a sheet of concrete and 
very barren." 

Barber's 3d Platoon, under First 
Lieutenant Robert C. McCarthy, 
occupied the high ground at the 
center of the narrow perimeter. At 
about 0230, McCarthy's two for- 
ward squads were overwhelmed 
by a company-sized attack. Out of 
35 men, McCarthy lost 15 killed, 9 
wounded, and 3 missing. The 
eight survivors fell back to the 
reserve squad on the reverse slope 
of the hill. Barber's position was 
almost cut in half, but his two 
wing platoons managed to hold 
their ground. Much was owed to 
the valor of three Marines: Private 
First Class Robert Benson and 
Private Hector A. Cafferatta of the 
2d Platoon under Second Lieuten- 
ant Elmo G. Peterson on the left, 
and Private First Class Gerald J. 
Smith of the 1st Platoon under 
First Lieutenant John M. Dunne on 
the right. One party of Chinese 
penetrated as far as the company 
command post and the 81mm 
mortar position. Fighting, some of 
it hand-to-hand, continued until 
daybreak when the Chinese broke 


off the assault but continued to 
keep the position under fire. In all 
Barber had lost 20 Marines killed 
and 54 wounded. Fox Company 
did not know how many Chinese it 
had killed but guesses went up to 

Howard Koone was one of 
those wounded. He eventually 
found himself in a Korean hut 
being used by Fox Company's 
corpsmen as a sick bay. He was 
told that helicopters would be 
coming to evacuate the wounded 
and that he would be third on the 
list, but the helicopters never 

Yudam-ni, 28 November 

Dawn on 28 November saw the 
tactical situation on Northwest 
Ridge unresolved. Hill 1403 had 
been lost to the enemy. Elsewhere 
both Marines and Chinese were 
clinging to the high ground. 
Roise's 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 
had a firm grip on its portion of the 
line. As yet there had been no 
orders to abandon the offensive 
begun the day before. Roise had 
received orders from Murray to 
continue the attack at daybreak. 
Taplett's 3d Battalion was to come 
up on his right flank and add its 
weight to the assault. 

Murray met with Litzenberg at 
the 7th Marines command post at 
dawn. Both regimental comman- 
ders agreed that the situation dic- 
tated that they change from the 
offensive to the defensive. Murray 
canceled the attacks to be made 
by Roise and Taplett. 

Murray barely knew Litzenberg. 
In the south, at Seoul, he had seen 
him once or twice at division 
headquarters. The only intimate 
contact he ever had with him 
would be at Yudam-ni. Neverthe- 
less, the loose command relation- 
ship seemed to work. "If he had 
troops on some hills," said Murray, 

" then I put troops on some other 
hills, so that we had a good 
perimeter defense of the area." 

Murray remembered that 
Litzenberg "had a reputation of 
being sort of a fussbudget, a stick- 
ler .. . he seemed to be a studious 
type of person, knew his business, 
and as far as I could tell from talk- 
ing with people in the 7th Marines, 
it seemed everyone respected him 
and his abilities. . . . Many people 
have asked why he didn't just 
assume command up there. I can't 
answer that question definitively. 
After all, there was a division 
headquarters over the hill from us, 
and we were still part of that divi- 
sion, so we had a common head. 
But in any case, we decided to 
operate very closely together, and 
we did." 

Taplett had begun his counter- 
attack against the spur of Hill 1384 
at about 0300 with two platoons 
of George Company led by 

Lieutenants John J. "Blackie" Cahill 
and Dana B. Cashion. Some time 
after daylight Cahill and Cashion 
reached the crest of Hill 1384 with 
their platoons. About this time 
Taplett received the order canceling 
the attack. He, in turn, directed 
Cahill and Cashion to hold where 
they were until they received fur- 
ther orders. With their presence on 
top of the hill, the remainder of 
How Company, 7th Marines — 
some 80 officers and men — was 
able to complete its withdrawal 
from Hill 1403 and pass on into 
Taplett's perimeter. 

John Stevens' 1st Battalion, 5th 
Marines, spent the morning con- 
solidating its position on Hill 1240. 
His Charlie Company, under 
Captain Jack R. Jones, had moved 
over during the night to backstop 
Taplett's battalion and was put 
under the operational control of 
the 7th Marines. One platoon was 
dropped off to rejoin its parent 

A row of dead Chinese, frozen in grotesque positions, on the high ground over- 
looking a command post of the 5th Marines at Yudam-ni, mark the line of their 
farthest advance. The burden of the Chinese attack was borne chiefly by isolat- 
ed Marine rifle companies holding ridgeline positions. 

Photo by Sgt Frnnk C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4839 


battalion on Hill 1240. The remain- 
der of the company continued on 
to Hill 1282. A company of 
Chinese from the 235th CCF 
Regiment had lodged itself on the 
hilltop. Jones led his reduced com- 
pany in a hand-to-hand assault 
that won back the hill. 

At 1100 Murray ordered Roise to 
pull his battalion back to 

Southwest Ridge tying in with 
Harris' 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 
on his left and Taplett's 3d 
Battalion, 5th Marines, on his 
right. Early that afternoon Roise 
brought his battalion back from 
Northwest Ridge a company at a 
time. Except for occasional harass- 
ing fire, the Chinese did not inter- 

Early that morning, Davis' 1st 
Battalion, 7th Marines, had set out 
to the south to relieve both Charlie 
and Fox Companies from their 
encirclement on the MSR. Able 
Company, under First Lieutenant 
Eugenous M. Hovatter, led off, 
moving through a gorge separat- 
ing South from Southeast Ridge. 
Five hours of fighting found Able 
Company still a mile short of 
Charlie Company's position. Baker 
Company, under Captain Wilcox, 
joined the attack. Together the two 
companies reached Charlie Com- 
pany. Litzenberg, with Charlie 
Company now relieved and its 
wounded evacuated, and not 
wanting to have the 1st Battalion 
trapped in the gorge, ordered 
Davis to pull back into the Yudam- 
ni perimeter. By evening Stevens' 
1st Battalion, 5th Marines, had 
relieved the shattered remnants of 
Hull's Company D, 7th Marines. 
The two regiments at Yudam-ni, 
their perimeter tightened and 
mended, faced the night of 28 
November with considerable con- 
fidence. But Barber's Fox 
Company remained alone in 
Toktong Pass. 

Almond Visits Faith 

At Hagaru-ri, a platoon-sized 
patrol, sent out to the southwest 
early on the morning of 28 
November from Fisher's Item 
Company, was pushed back into 
the perimeter. At about the same 
time as this patrol action, Ridge 
telephoned Colonel Bowser, the 
division G-3 and Smith's war chief, 
recommending that an overall 
defense commander be designat- 
ed for Hagaru-ri. He also request- 
ed that the arrival of his George 
Company and the Royal Marine 41 
Commando be expedited. Before a 
decision could be reached, 
General Smith flew in by heli- 
copter at about 1100 to open his 


Photo courtesy of Sgt Norman L. Strickbine, USA 
East of the reservoir during 28 November, the Army's 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, 
and two firing batteries of the 5 7th Field Artillery Battalion painfully reorganized 
after the previous night's devastating attack against their positions just south of 
Pungnyuri Inlet. Bodies can be seen in the foreground. Sporadic fighting con- 
tinued north of the inlet. 

command post at Hagaru-ri. A 
half-hour later General Almond, 
along with his junior aide, 26-year- 
old Captain Alexander M. Haig, Jr., 
arrived in Almond's L-17 light air- 
craft, the "Blue Goose." 

After meeting with Smith, 
Almond borrowed a Marine heli- 
copter to take him east of the 
reservoir to meet with Faith and 
MacLean. Colonel MacLean, it will 
be remembered, had spent the 
night of 27 November at Faith's 
position. MacLean thought that 
Faith's battalion had come through 
the night in fairly good shape. He 
knew little or nothing about what 
had happened south of the inlet. At 
dawn he left to return to his own 
advance command post. His short 
jeep trip was not interrupted. 

Almond, on arriving at Faith's 
position in his borrowed Marine 
Corps helicopter, airily told Faith 
that there was nothing in front of 
him except scattered Chinese 
retreating to the north and that he 
should tiy to retake the lost high 
ground. As further encourage- 
ment, Almond informed Faith that 
he had three Silver Stars to pre- 
sent, one for Faith himself and two 
more for whomever Faith desig- 
nated. Faith called forward a 
wounded platoon leader and a 
mess sergeant. Almond pinned the 
three Silver Stars to their parkas, 
Captain Haig noted their names in 
his notebook, and the general and 
his aide got back on board their 
helicopter. As the helicopter 
whirled away, Faith and the lieu- 
tenant tore the Silver Stars from 
their parkas and threw them in the 

Stopping to see MacLean, 
Almond advised him that the pre- 
viously planned attack would be 
resumed once the 2d Battalion, 
31st Infantry, joined the regiment. 
This battalion and Battery C of the 
57th Field Artillery were marooned 
far south on the clogged MSR. 

During the night, the 31st 
Medical Company, pushing north 
from Hudong-ni had been 
ambushed and badly shot up in 
the vicinity of Hill 1221. Survivors 
drifting back to the headquarters 
of RCT-31 at Hudong-ni were the 
first indication that the road had 
been cut. 

Meanwhile, General Hodes, the 
assistant commander of the 7th 
Division, was at Hudong-ni. He 
directed Captain Richard E. Drake, 
commander of the 31st Tank 
Company, to sally forth to the 
north to see if he could break 
through to the inlet. Drake moved 
out with 16 tanks. Hodes rode 
with Drake as a passenger; he did 
not take tactical command. 
Without infantry support, the 
tanks could not break the Chinese 
grip on Hill 1221 which effectively 
blocked the route north. Four 
tanks were lost. Hodes returned to 
Hudong-ni in a jeep, intent on get- 
ting back to Hagaru-ri for help. He 

took a tank, at Drake's insistence, 
for transportation and got back to 
Hagaru-ri, five miles away, with- 
out further incident. He never 
returned to Hudong-ni. 

South of the inlet that day, 28 
November, the badly battered 3d 
Battalion, 31st Infantry, and 57th 
Field Artillery Battalion painfully 
reorganized and consolidated their 
positions. Before nightfall, the 
Chinese came back into the attack 
with the Ml6 and M19 self-pro- 
pelled guns the focal point of their 
effort. The automatic 40mm and 
.50-caliber fire did its lethal work. 
The perimeter held and many 
Chinese died. 

North of the inlet sporadic fight- 
ing had continued. A dominant hill 
position was lost to the Chinese. 
Stamford ran close air support 
strikes with Marine Corsairs with 
little apparent effect. To the east 
the battalion could glimpse long 
columns of Chinese marching 
south, some of them mounted on 


Mongolian ponies, or so it was 
said. Air strikes were flown against 
them and claimed good results. 

[lagaru-ri, 28 November 

Smith had moved into a 
Japanese-style house, soon over- 
crowded with the impedimenta of 
a division command post. On the 
wall close by Smith's field desk 
hung a picture of Stalin; Smith let it 
remain where it was. By nightfall on 
the 28th Smith had officially sanc- 
tioned actions already taken at 
Yudam-ni. Murray was ordered to 
halt his attack to the northwest. 
Litzenberg was told to attack to the 
south and reopen the MSR to 
Hagaru-ri. Together, Murray and 
Litzenberg were to plan for the 
continued defense of Yudam-ni 
and the breakout to the south. The 
joint defense plan worked up by 
Litzenberg and Murray provided 
for RCT-5 to take over responsibil- 

ity for the west and north sectors, 
RCT-7 for the east, south, and 

"Although the two regimental 
commanders acted jointly," said 
Taplett years later, "I harbored the 
gut feeling that Colonel Litzenberg 
and not Colonel Murray called the 
shots simply because of seniority. I 
confess to having more confidence 
in Murray." 

During the afternoon, Colonel 
Bowser, the division G-3, tele- 
phoned Lieutenant Colonel Ridge 
confirming his appointment as 
Hagaru's defense commander. By 
then Ridge knew that George 
Company would not be arriving in 
time to occupy East Hill. George 
Company under Captain Carl L. 
Sitter reached Koto-ri that same 
day. Sitter, 28, had received a field 
commission in World War II after 
two years enlisted service. He 
fought in the Marshalls and at 
Guam, was twice wounded, and 

had received a Silver Star. At Koto- 
ri it soon became obvious that 
Sitter's company could go no farther 
without strenuous effort. 

Colonel Brower had arrived at 
Hagaru-ri with the headquarters of 
his artillery regiment, the 11th 
Marines. He set up the fire support 
control center in juxtaposition 
with Smith's headquarters. His 
executive officer, Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Carl A. Youngdale, 48, Iowa 
State University, class of 1936, 
headed the regiment's fire direc- 
tion center. 

That afternoon, Company D, 
10th Combat Engineer Battalion, 
came in from a tent camp the engi- 
neer soldiers had set up just outside 
the perimeter on the road leading 
south to Koto-ri. In his expanded 
role as Hagaru-ri defense com- 
mander, Ridge had operational 
control of the company. He decid- 
ed to use it to fill the yawning gap 
on East Hill. He so informed the 
engineer company commander, 
Army Captain Philip A. Kulbes. 
The engineer captain protested, 
saying that he was at Hagaru to 
build a new command post for X 
Corps and that his men — 77 
Americans and 90 South 
Koreans — had no training in 
infantry combat. Aside from indi- 
vidual weapons, the only arma- 
ment the company possessed was 
four .50-caliber machine guns, five 
light .30-caliber machine guns, 
and six 3. 5-inch rocket launchers. 
Ridge asked Kulbes if he would 
accept the tactical advice of a 
Marine officer and Kulbes said he 
would. Captain John C. Shelnutt, 
the executive officer of the 3d 
Battalion's Weapons Company, 
was assigned as a "liaison" officer. 
Shelnutt was accompanied by a 
radioman, Private First Class 
Bruno Podolak. Major Simmons 
privately advised Shelnutt that, in 
face of the Army captain's reluc- 
tance, he would have to take de 

Before moving north to the reservoir, the commander and staff of the division's 
artillery regiment, the 11th Marines, lined up outside their command post at 
Hamhung for a group photograph . Standing, from left to right, are: Maj Donald 
V. Anderson, LtCol Carl A. Youngdale, the executive officer, Col James H. 
Brower, the commanding officer, and LtCol James G. Appleyard. Kneeling are Capt 
William T. Phillips and Maj Floyd M. McCorkle. 

Photo by TSgt James W. Helms, Jr., National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5264 


facto command. The Army compa- 
ny procrastinated, taking its time 
to move its trucks and engineer 
equipment into a motor park. At 
dusk the engineers started up the 
hill. The ascent took them through 
the roadblock facing south toward 

About 10 Marines under 
Gunnery Sergeant Bert E. Elliott, 
the Weapons Company machine 
gun platoon sergeant, manned the 
roadblock. Reinforcements for the 
roadblock came late in the day in 
the form of a platoon from the 
Army's 4th Signal Battalion sent to 
install communications for what 
was to be General Almond's com- 
mand post. The Army signal lieu- 
tenant, First Lieutenant John A. 
Colborn, like the Army engineer 
captain, reported that his men had 
no infantry training. The 3d 
Battalion's Weapons Company 
commander asked him if he would 
take orders from a Marine gunnery 
sergeant. The lieutenant eagerly 
said that he would. 

On the north side of East Hill, the 
commanding officer of the 1st 
Service Battalion, Lieutenant 
Colonel Charles L. "Gus" Banks, 
36, a World War II Edson's raider, 
was named a sub-sector comman- 
der. He was to coordinate his 
actions with Lockwood. While 
Kolbes' engineers climbed the 
south face of the hill a column of 
Marines sent by Banks started up 
the north face. The two columns 
were supposed to meet on the 

At sundown, Simmons pulled 
his roadblock back about 75 yards 
to what he thought was a stronger 
position. With a total of about 40 
men Gunnery Sergeant Elliott was 
able to man the roadblock with his 
Marines and the knoll on his left 
flank, which was the first step in the 
climb up East Hill, with the Army 
signal platoon. Elliott had been a 
lieutenant during World War II and 

he was determined to win back his 
bars. Tough, battle-wise, and not 
particularly well-liked, even by his 
own Marines, he balanced his .45- 
caliber pistol in the palm of his 
hand and bluntly advised the sol- 
diers that if they dug in, stayed, 
and fought, they would be there 
in the morning; but if they got up 
to run, he would shoot them him- 

Hagaru-ri Airstrip Defense 

While the two columns, Army 
and Marine, moved toward the 
crest of East Hill, a major Chinese 
attack hit the southwest quarter of 
the perimeter, fortunately striking 
the strongest segment of the 
Marine line, that held by Com- 
panies H and I of the 3d Battalion, 
1st Marines. The two companies, 
stretched thinly along the far side of 
the prospective airstrip on which 
the engineers were laboring under 
lights, were well dug-in. Holes had 
been blasted through the top 8 or 
10 inches of frozen earth with 
ration cans filled with C-3 explosive 
so that foxholes and machine gun 
emplacements could be dug. The 
spoil was used to fill sandbags. A 
meager supply of concertina and 
other barbed wire was strung out 
where it would do the most good. 
Five-gallon cans filled with gasoline 
were rigged with white phosphorus 
grenades. Tied to the grenades 
were strings that could be pulled to 
explode the grenades and flame 
the gasoline. An earnest demoli- 
tions sergeant explained that these 
were French devices known as a 
"foo-gah-say." Three draws led 
into the Marine position; they had 
been sown with anti-personnel 
mines. In all, it would be a tough 
nut for the Chinese to crack. 

A light snow was falling. The 
two companies were at 100 per- 
cent alert. At about 2230, three red 
flares and three blasts of a whistle 

signaled that the Chinese were 
coming. Mortar shells, high explo- 
sive mixed with white phospho- 
rus, began crunching down on the 
frontline positions. Marine sup- 
porting arms — some artillery but 
mostly mortars and machine 
guns — took the Chinese under 
fire, but did not stop the enemy 
from closing to within hand- 
grenade and burp-gun range. The 
assault continued for an hour, the 
Chinese attacking in combat 
groups of about 50 men each. 
Most of the Marine line held, but 
the Chinese succeeded in pene- 
trating the center of How 
Company's position. The company 
commander, Captain Clarence 
Corley, pulled together a scratch 
squad and tried to plug the gap 
but was pushed aside. Some few 
Chinese broke through as far as 
the airstrip where the engineers 
killed them. 

Ridge dispatched a mixed pla- 
toon of Marines and soldiers under 
First Lieutenant Grady P. Mitchell, 
Jr., to back up How Company. 
Mitchell was killed and First 
Lieutenant Horace L. Johnson, Jr., 
took over. Johnson deployed his 
men in a ditch fortuitously behind 
How Company's ruptured line. 
The Chinese who had penetrated 
the position were milling around, 
seemingly more intent on looting 
the supply and cook tents than 
exploiting their success. They 
were fighting for food, warm 
clothes, and U.S. ammunition. At 
least one wounded Marine sur- 
vived by feigning death when a 
Chinese soldier stripped him of his 
parka. Ridge fed in another pla- 
toon made up of casuals to build on 
Johnson's line. By about 0130 the 
situation appeared to be under 
control. The engineers relit their 
floodlights, got back on their doz- 
ers, and resumed work on the 

But bad things were now hap- 


pening on the other side of the 

Action on Mast Hill 

The two columns that had been 
sent up East Hill had failed to 
reach the crest. Captain Shelnutt, in 
virtual command of the Army 
engineers and under heavy fire, 
reported to the 3d Battalion's 
Weapons Company commander 
that Banks' column coming up the 
other way did not seem to be 
where it was supposed to be. 
Shelnutt was told to turn back his 
left flank and hold for the night. He 
was promised that artillery fire 
would fill in the gap. 

At about 0115, the Marines and 
soldiers on the south roadblock 
were treated to the sight of a com- 
pany-sized column of Chinese 
marching up the road toward 
them. Apparently the pullback of 
the roadblock earlier in the 
evening had caused the Chinese to 
think the position had been aban- 
doned. The column presented the 
pair of Weapons Company water- 
cooled machine guns with a perfect 
enfilade target. Few members of 
the Chinese column escaped. 

At Ridge's command tent heavy 
small arms fire and grenades could 
be heard on East Hill itself. The 
Weapons Company commander 
reached Shelnutt by radio at about 
0200. Podolak, the radio operator, 
informed him that Shelnutt was 
dead: "There's nobody up here 
except me and a couple of dog- 
gies." Podolak was sternly 
enjoined, as a Marine, to take 
charge. The next time the 
Weapons Company commander 
tried to radio him the set was 

During the night, stragglers 
from the Army engineer company, 
mostly South Koreans, but some 
Americans, streamed back off the 
hill and took cover in the ditches 

and culverts of Hagaru-ri itself. 
Some few were rallied into a sup- 
port line, stiffened with a handful of 
Marines, along the road paralleling 
the base of the hill. Other soldiers 
stayed on the hill and fought 
bravely. Most of these died. 

Across the perimeter, Captain 
Clarence Corley, a spent bullet in 
his arm, launched a counterattack 
at about 0430 to restore his main 
line of resistance. It was successful, 
but the night had cost How 
Company 16 men dead and 39 

Hagaru-ri, 29 November 

Ridge's greatest concern now 
was the situation on East Hill. If 
the enemy continued to have pos- 
session of the crest when daylight 
came, exposing the defenses of 
Hagaru-ri to full view, the situation 
would be critical. At 0530 he 
decided that he must counterat- 
tack. Major Reginald R. Myers, 31, 
University of Idaho 1941, the bat- 
talion executive officer, volun- 
teered to lead a column up the 
hill. Myers had spent most of 
World War II on sea duty but 
joined the 5th Marines in time for 
Okinawa and North China. There 
was no tactical unit available to 
him at Hagaru that could be used. 
The attack would have to be made 
by a mixed force of service 
troops — and some stragglers 
found skulking in the town — 
patched together into a provision- 
al company of about 250 men, 
mostly Marines but including a few 
soldiers. Myers' improvised com- 
pany formed up on the road next to 
the battalion command post and 
was tolled off into platoons and 
squads. The first platoon, made up 
of Marines from the 1st Engineer 
Battalion and under command of 
First Lieutenant Robert E. Jochums, 
was the most homogenous and in 
the best shape. 

Ridge delayed Myers' jump-off 
until about 0930 by which time the 
morning mists had cleared and 
Corsairs for close support could be 
brought overhead. The south 
roadblock had held. The soldier 
signalmen had stayed and fought 
well, delighting both themselves 
and the Marines. Myers led his 
"company" upward through their 
position. Troubles began almost 
immediately, if not from Chinese 
gunfire then from the icy slope. 
Men stumbled and fell, to be 
hauled to the rear by others only 
too willing to carry them to relative 
safety. Myers' force melted away 
to about 75 men. Best perfor- 
mance, predictably, was by the 
platoon led by Jochums. He was 
wounded in the foot but contin- 
ued in command. Myers could 
claim reaching the military crest, 
but the topographical crest was 
still firmly in Chinese hands. 

A supporting attack was to be 
made by Company A, 1st Engineer 
Battalion, under Captain George 
W. King, coming up the south face 
and passing through Myers' posi- 
tion. King started up the hill at 
about noon, his 1st Platoon under 
First Lieutenant Nicholas A. 
Canzona in the lead. Orders were 
changed. King's company was 
pulled back, marched almost a 
mile to the north, and then sent up 
the north face. Like the Myers 
force, he reached the military 
crest, but on the north side. His 
company went into a reverse 
slope defensive position for the 
night, separated from Myers by 
about 500 yards. Ridge had to be 
satisfied with King and Myers 
holding these positions. The 
Chinese continued to hold the 
topographical crest. 

Ridge planned to feed in Sitter's 
George Company to take the 
remainder of the hill when it 
arrived from Koto-ri. From prison- 
er interrogation Ridge now 


believed that the 58th CCF 
Division, led by the 172d 
Regiment and followed by the 
1 73d, with the 1 74th held back in 
reserve, had attacked Companies 
H and I. It was not clear what 
Chinese force was driving west to 
East Hill or when its deployment to 
assault Hagaru itself would be 

The Corsairs from Frank Cole's 
VMF-312 flew 31 sorties that day 
over Hagaru most of them against 
East Hill. One plane took a bad hit 
from Chinese small arms. The 
pilot, First Lieutenant Harry W. 
Colmery, successfully crash-land- 
ed inside the perimeter. 

Brigadier General Hodes, the 
assistant division commander of 
the 7th Division, had spoken 

LtCol Allan Sutter arrived at Koto-ri 
with the 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, on 
24 November. Col Puller moved bis 
headquarters to Koto-ri on the same 
day. With the 3d Battalion at 
Hagaru-ri and the 1st Battalion at 
Chinhung-ni, Puller would have his 
infantry battalions at three widely 
separated combat bases along the 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5546 

briefly with General Smith upon 
his arrival from Hudong-ni on the 
evening of 28 November. At noon 
on the 29th of November, he met 
again with Smith, informing him in 
more detail of the condition of 
RCT-31 east of the reservoir; that it 
had taken 400 casualties and was 
falling back toward Hagaru-ri and 
probably was unable to fight its 
way to safety. 

"The inference was that they 
should be rescued by a larger 
force," wrote Smith in his log. "I 
have nothing now with which to 
lend a hand except the battalion at 
Hagaru-ri and it has its hands full. 
I cannot see why the cutoff battal- 
ions cannot at least improve the 
situation by moving toward us." 

Second Night on Fox Hill 

Barber was supposed to have 
brought Fox Company off Toktong 
Pass and, with the help of Davis' 
battalion, was to have marched on 
into Yudam-ni. There was no 
chance of this. He was already 
encumbered with 54 wounded. 
During the morning of 28 
November he had the help of a 
close air strike by Australian F-51 
Mustangs. Later he sent out patrols 
that confirmed that he was com- 
pletely surrounded. He asked for 
resupply by air. Marine R-5D four- 
engine transports, the Marine 
Corps equivalent of the Air Force C- 
54, dropped medical supplies and 
ammunition. Most fell at the base of 
the hill. Recovering them cost two 
more Marines wounded. 

That night the Chinese came 
again against Fox Company. Five 
more Marines were killed, 29 more 
wounded, among the latter 
Captain Barber. Hit in the leg, he 
received first aid and stayed in 
action. During the day that fol- 
lowed, both Marine and Air Force 
planes dropped ammunition and 
other supplies. A Marine heli- 

copter made a precarious delivery 
of some ammunition and much- 
needed radio batteries. Lieutenant 
Peterson, already twice wounded, 
took a patrol out in front of Fox 
Company to recover some errant 
mortar ammunition. 

Koto-ri Action, 
1 h28 November 

Lieutenant Colonel Alan Sutter's 
2d Battalion, 1st Marines, had 
arrived at the meager village of 
Koto-ri on 24 November. Hand- 
some, silver-haired Sutter, 36, 
Dartmouth 1937, had been a signal 
officer at Guadalcanal, Guam, and 
Okinawa. Now at Koto-ri, with his 
battalion reinforced by the 105mm 
howitzers of Easy Battery of the 
11th Marines, a platoon of 4.2-inch 
mortars, bits and pieces of the reg- 
imental antitank company, and 
Company D of the 1st Medical 
Battalion, he set up a convention- 
al perimeter defense. 

A patrol from Captain Jack A. 
Smith's Easy Company brushed up 
against about 25 Chinese west of 
the village and brought in two 
wounded prisoners who said they 
were part of a Chinese division 
moving into attack positions. 
Chesty Puller and his regimental 
headquarters had joined Sutter at 
Koto-ri and in the next several 
days more Marine and Army units 
jammed their way into the protec- 
tive envelope of the perimeter. On 
the morning of 28 November, 
Smith ordered Puller to send a 
force up the MSR to meet a tank 
patrol coming down from Hagaru- 
ri. Sutter sent out Dog Company 
under Captain Welby W. Cronk, 
but it was stopped a mile north of 
the perimeter by a strong Chinese 
force entrenched on both sides of 
the road. Dog Company withdrew 
under cover of air strikes by the 
busy Corsairs of VMF-312. The 
day's fighting cost the Marines four 



Photo by Cpl W. T. Wolfe, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4868 

A company of Marines, quite possibly Capt Welby W. Cronk's Company D, 2d 
Battalion, 1st Marines, makes a school-solution advance up a hill outside the Koto- 
ri perimeter on 28 November. One platoon is deployed as skirmishers followed by 
the other two platoons in squad column. Cronk took three Chinese prisoners, but 
the Marines lost four killed and 34 wounded. 

killed and 34 wounded. Three 
prisoners were taken and they 
identified their unit as the 179th 
Regiment, 60th CCF Division. 

Solemn Meeting at GHQ 

The 28th of November had 
been a busy day for General 
Almond and, when he arrived at his 
comfortable headquarters at 
Hamhung that evening, he found 
urgent orders directing him to 
report immediately to MacArthur's 
GHQ in Tokyo. Almond and a 
small staff left for Tokyo from 
Yonpo in an Air Force C-54. They 
arrived at Haneda Airport at 2130 
where Almond was told to pro- 
ceed immediately to General 
MacArthur's residence at the 
American Embassy. He learned 
that MacArthur had called his 
senior commanders back to GHQ 
for a secret council of war. 
General Walker would also be pre- 
sent. The conference lasted two 
hours. In the west, Eighth Army's 
"Home-by-Christmas" offensive 
had gone well for the first two 
days. Then, on the night of 25 
November, Chinese bugles were 
heard all across the front. By noon 
on 27 November, Walker had 
reported to MacArthur that he esti- 
mated there were 200,000 Chinese 
in front of him, that the ROK II 
Corps had been swept away, and 
that the U.S. IX Corps was falling 
back to cover his exposed flank. 
Walker now informed MacArthur 
that he thought he could build up 
a line in the vicinity of Pyongyang. 
Almond, in a bit of braggadocio, 
told MacArthur that he expected 
the 1st Marine and 7th Infantry 
Division to continue their attack. 
However, in his own mind 
Almond had come to realize that 
the greatest problem facing X 
Corps was its dispersion over a 
400-mile front. He had begun to 
contemplate concentrating his 

forces into a perimeter defense 
around the Hamhung-Hungnam 
area. MacArthur, after listening to 
his field commanders, gave his 
decision: a changeover from the 
strategic offensive to the defen- 
sive. (Some authorities believe 
MacArthur had already reached 
this decision before meeting with 
his senior field commanders.) 

Yudam-iii, l l ) November 

The night of 28-29 November 
was quiet at Yudam-ni. Division 
directed that an effort again be 
made to relieve Fox Company. A 
composite battalion was pasted 
together of Able Company from 
the 5th Marines, Baker and George 
Companies from the 7th Marines, 
reinforced with a section of 75mm 
recoilless rifles and two sections of 
81mm mortars. Major Warren 
Morris, the executive officer of 3d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, was placed 
in command. He assembled his 
force in front of the 1st Battalion, 
7th Marines, command post on the 
morning of 29 November and at 
0800 marched out to the south. 

Three hundred yards outside the 
perimeter heavy machine gun fire 
laced into his column. Morris 
pushed on. Corsairs came over- 
head to help and dropped mes- 
sages warning that the Chinese 
were entrenched along both sides 
of the road. At 1315, Litzenberg, 
warned that Morris' column was in 
danger of being surrounded, 
ordered him to return to the 
perimeter. Fox Company would 
spend another night at Toktong 
Pass alone. As evening fell, 
Captain Barber called his platoon 
leaders together and told them 
they could expect no immediate 

RCT-Sl Begins Withdrawal 

During the night of 28 
November, Faith and MacLean 
tried to get some sleep in the hut 
that was now their joint command 
post. By 0100, 29 November, the 
Chinese were attacking in strength 
but were beaten off. An hour later, 
MacLean ordered Faith to prepare 
to breakout to the south with the 
objective of reaching the 3d 


Battalion, 31st Infantry. All trucks 
were to be unloaded of cargo and 
given over to carrying out the 
wounded. Equipment and vehicles 
left behind were to be disabled 
but not destroyed. Blackout would 
be observed and there would be no 
burning of tentage and supplies. 
MacLean and Faith began their 

march-out at about 0600 on 
Wednesday morning, the 29th. It 
was strangely quiet as the rifle 
companies broke contact and 
came down from the high ground. 
The truck column, about 60 vehi- 
cles in all, formed up and moved 
south on the road with Marine 
Corsairs overhead. Leading the 

way was a command party that 
included MacLean and Faith. As 
the party approached the highway 
bridge over the inlet, it came 
under fire and split into two parts, 
MacLean with one, Faith with the 

A column of troops was seen 
coming up the road. "Those are 
my boys," shouted MacLean and 
he started on foot across the ice 
toward them. A crackle of rifle fire 
was heard. His body was seen to 
jerk as though hit several times by 
bullets. He fell on the ice, then got 
to his feet and staggered on until 
out of friendly sight. Much later it 
would be learned that he was 
taken prisoner, but on the march 
north died of his wounds. His 
comrades buried him by the side of 
the road. 

Faith was now the senior sur- 
viving officer and the 31st RCT 
would go into the collective mem- 
ory of the Korean War as "Task 
Force Faith," although it would 
never officially bear that name. 
The head of Faith's column 
reached the 3d Battalion's posi- 
tions by 0900 and by 1300 most 
elements had closed south of the 
inlet. Faith formed a new perimeter 
with the remnants of the two bat- 
talions, attempting to incorporate 
some of the high ground to the 
south. A helicopter sent in from 
Hagaru-ri by General Hodes took 
out the two wounded battalion 
commanders, Reilly and Embree. 
Air delivery of ammunition and 
supplies, called in by Stamford, 
had mixed results. Much of what 
was dropped landed outside the 
new perimeter. 

Faith knew nothing of Drake's 
attempt to reach the inlet with his 
tanks. Drake tried a second time on 
29 November with 11 tanks and a 
scratch platoon of infantry drawn 
from the regimental headquarters. 
After four hours of effort, the tanks 
fell back once more to Hudong-ni. 

Koto-ri Perimeter 
28 November-7 December 1950 



Yards r^^^^^^™^J 


Photo courtesy of Sgt Norman L. Strickbine, USA 
Parachutes laden with ammunition and supplies blossom as they are dropped 
by an Air force C-119 of the Far East Air Force's Combat Cargo Command to the 
entrapped RCT-31 east of the reservoir. Such aerial delivery had mixed results. 
Much of what was dropped fell outside American lines and into Chinese hands. 

Fox's Continued Ordeal 

The night of 29-30 November 
was again relatively quiet at 
Yudam-ni, but not so at Toktong 
Pass. At 0200 a voice came out of 
the dark and in stilted English said: 
"Fox Company, you are surround- 
ed. I am a lieutenant from the 11th 
Marines. The Chinese will give 
you warm clothes and good treat- 
ment. Surrender now." 

Fox Company threw up some 
81mm illumination shells and 
replied with mortar and machine 
gun fire. The Chinese were caught 
in their attack position, perhaps 
three companies of them. Many 
died but some got close enough 
for an exchange of hand grenades. 
Fox Company, now well dug in, 
lost only one Marine wounded. At 
sunrise the protective Corsairs 
came overhead once again. 

Chinhung-ni Action, 
lh-M\ November 

Short and feisty Lieutenant 
Colonel Donald M. "Buck" 
Schmuck, 35, University of Colo- 
rado 1938, had taken over com- 
mand of the 1st Battalion, 1st 
Marines, on 8 November. In World 
War II he had fought as a compa- 
ny commander at Bougainville 
and Peleliu, and later served at 
Okinawa. On the night of 26 
November the Chinese probed his 
perimeter at Chinhung-ni at the 
foot of Funchilin Pass with a series 
of light attacks. Patrols sent out by 
Schmuck the next day failed to 
make contact. That night the 
Chinese hit his perimeter with 
another tantalizing, easily re- 
pulsed, light attack. Schmuck sent 
out more patrols during the next 
two days. What they found or did 
not find caused him to conclude 
that a Chinese battalion that 
attacked him at night and hid in 
the houses to his west during the 

day was pestering him. 

A patrol sent out from Captain 
Wesley Noren's Company B on the 
29th more or less confirmed 
Schmuck's conclusion. Schmuck 
decided to attack the suspected 
Chinese position on the following 
day, using Captain Robert H. 
Barrow's Company A and a part of 
Noren's company, reinforced with 
81mm and 4.2-inch mortars. 
Battery F, 11th Marines, under First 
Lieutenant Howard A. Blancheri, 
laid down preparatory 105mm 
howitzer fire, the infantry swept 
forward, and, in the words of 
Major William L. Bates, Jr., the bat- 
talion's Weapons Company com- 
mander, "ran the Chinese right out 
of the country." The houses that 
sheltered the Chinese were 
burned. There was no more trouble 
at Chinhung-ni. 

Task Force Drysdale Formed 

On the evening of 28 November 
three disparate units — 4l Com- 
mando, Royal Marines; Company 
G, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines; and 
Company B, 31st Infantry, 7th 
Infantry Division — had crowded 
into the perimeter at Koto-ri after an 

uneventful motor march up from 
the south. Puller pasted the three 
units together into a task force, 
giving command to Lieutenant 
Colonel Douglas B. Drysdale of 
the Royal Marines, with orders to 
fight his way through to Hagaru-ri 
the next day. 

Drysdale barely had time to 
uncrate his newly issued American 
81mm mortars and Browning 
machine guns. He moved out at 
0945 on 29 November, his truck- 
borne column followed by a serial 
of headquarters troops on its way to 
the new division headquarters at 
Hagaru-ri. Drysdale's plan was for 
his Royal Marines to lead off with 
an assault against the Chinese 
entrenched on the right of the 
road just north of Koto-ri. Captain 
Carl Sitter's George Company — 
reinforced with a provisional pla- 
toon of water-cooled machine 
guns, rocket launchers, and 81mm 
mortars — was to follow with an 
assault against Hill 1236, a mile- 
and-a-half north of Koto-ri. The 
soldiers of Baker Company, 31st 
Infantry, would be in reserve. 

The Royal Marines took their 
objective without much trouble, 
but Sitter's Marines ran into seri- 


Photo by PFC C. Wehner, Jr., National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A6593 

LtCol Donald M. Schmuck received a Stiver Star for his command of 1st 
Battalion, 1st Marines, at Chinhung-ni from 26 November until 11 December. 
Making the award sometime in late winter 1951, is Col Francis A. McAlister, who 
had been the division G-4 but who by this time had succeeded Col Puller in com- 
mand of the 1st Marines. 

column to punch a way through. 
Resignedly, Diysdale resumed his 
advance at 1350, with 17 tanks 
leading the way, followed by 
Sitter's George Company. It was a 
pulsating advance — short move- 
ments followed by pauses while 
Chinese strong points were 
reduced with 90mm and machine 
gun fire. Progress was slow and 
George Company took heavy loss- 

More tanks — Company B, 1st 
Tank Battalion — arrived at Koto-ri at 
about 1500. Puller ordered their 
commander, Captain Bruce F. 
Williams, to leave one platoon 
with Sutter's 2d Battalion and to 
join the rear of the Diysdale column 
with his remaining two platoons. 
Meanwhile, Puller had dispatched a 
platoon from Company E, 2d 
Battalion, to assist in the evacuation 
of Drysdale's casualties. The pla- 
toon did not get back into the 
Koto-ri perimeter until about 1600. 

ous resistance before taking Hill 
1236. The British and American 
Marines then moved together 
about a mile farther up the road 
where they were stopped by 
Chinese machine gun and mortar 
fire coming from Hill 1182. 
Drysdale received a message from 
Puller telling him that three pla- 
toons of tanks would arrive by 
1300 to help. The tanks — two pla- 
toons of Pershings from Captain 
Bruce W. Clarke's Company D, 1st 
Tank Battalion, and the tank pla- 
toon with Shermans from the regi- 
ment's Anti-Tank Company — had 
just arrived at Koto-ri at noon. 
Drysdale ordered Sitter to break 
off the action and come back 
down to the road and await the 

Drysdale found Captain Clarke 
an "opinionated young man." 
Drysdale wanted the tanks distrib- 
uted throughout the length of the 
column. Clarke insisted that they 
be kept together at the head of the 

This sketch by Sgt Schofield shows the meeting atHagaru-ri of two U.S. Marines 
with two Royal Marines of 41 Independent Commando. The professionalism 
and sangfroid of the British Marines impressed their American counterparts, who, 
in turn, impressed the British with their dogged fighting qualities. 

Sketch by Sgt Ralph Schofield, USMCR 


Task Forces Faith 
and Drysdale 

if Firef ights 
Z= Roods ' i ■ i ' Railroads 


Yards ^^^^S^i 

Task Force Drysdale came to a halt 
about four miles north of Koto-ri at 
about the same time. Shortly there- 
after the Chinese began pounding 
the northern face of the Koto-ri 
perimeter with mortar fire fol- 
lowed by a company-sized attack 
that was easily contained by Easy 

Clarke and Williams, the tank 
commanders, advised Drysdale 
and Sitter that they thought the 
tanks could get through to 
Hagaru-ri but were dubious about 
further movement by trucks. 
Drysdale put the decision of a fur- 
ther advance up to division. Smith 
ordered him to continue. The 

tanks needed to refuel and this 
took more time. When the column 
did plunge forward unit integrity 
was lost and combat troops 
became intermingled with head- 
quarters elements. 

At the midway point to Hagaru- 
ri there was a valley, about a mile 
long, high ground on one side and 
the Changjin River and more hills 
on the other — Drysdale would 
name it "Hell Fire Valley." It 
became the scene of an all-night 
fight. The column broke in half. 
George Company, three-quarters 
of 41 Commando, and a few sol- 
diers, led by tanks from Company 
D, continued on toward Hagaru-ri. 
The remainder of 41 Commando; 
most of Company B, 31st Infantry; 
and nearly all other headquarters 
personnel were left on the road 
which the Chinese closed behind 
them. The Chinese chopped away 
at them. The best protection the 
stalled half of the convoy could 
find were the shallow ditches on 
each side of the road. Lieutenant 
Colonel Arthur A. Chidester, 37, 
University of Arkansas 1935, the 
assistant division G-4 and the 
senior officer in the group, 
attempted to turn his truncated 
column around and return to 
Koto-ri. He was wounded and 
captured. His place was taken by 
Major James K. Eagan, soon also 
wounded and taken prisoner. 

The half-column that had been 
left behind coalesced into one 
large perimeter and three small 
ones strung out over a distance of 
close to a mile. Farthest north, 
near the hamlet of Pusong-ni, was 
the largest perimeter, a hodge- 
podge of about 140 men including 
Associated Press photographer 
Frank "Pappy" Noel. Senior officer 
was Major John N. McLaughlin, 32, 
Emory University 1941, an assis- 
tant division G-3 and a well-deco- 
rated veteran who had fought with 
the 5th Marines at Guadalcanal, 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5354 
The village ofKoto-ri, midway between Hagaru-ri and the Funchilin Pass, was 
held by the 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, and was the site of Col "Chesty" Puller's 
regimental command post. Units moving north and south staged through here. 
Unseen are the fighting holes of the Marine infantry that encircled the camp. 

Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu in 
World War II. 

There was some hope that the 
Company B tanks from Koto-ri 
would come to the rescue of the 
four ragged perimeters, but the 
tanks were stopped by the 
Chinese at the defile formed by 
Hills 1236 and 1182, the same hills 
captured earlier but now reoccu- 
pied by the Chinese. The south- 
ernmost group on the road 
worked its way back into the 
Koto-ri perimeter by 2200 without 
much trouble. The middle group, 
mostly headquarters personnel, 
also made it back by 0230, losing 
most of its trucks along the way. Its 
leader, Lieutenant Colonel Harvey S. 
Walseth, the division G-l, was 
wounded. (Lieutenant Colonel 
Bryghte D. Godbold would take 
his place on the general staff.) By 
dawn all of the Company B tanks 
had returned to Koto-ri. 

The troops remaining trapped 
in Hell Fire Valley and still hoping 
to be rescued by the tanks knew 
none of this. The Chinese mean- 
while seemed more interested in 

looting the trucks than annihilat- 
ing the defenders. Major Mc- 
Laughlin tried sending patrols 
back to the south to link up with 

the other perimeters. They were 
beaten back. He gathered his 
wounded in a ditch and prayed for 
daylight and the arrival of Marine 
Corps aircraft overhead. By 0200 
he was out of grenades. A 75mm 
recoilless rifle, gallantly manned 
by U.S. soldiers, was knocked out 
and all its crew killed or wounded. 
Associated Press photographer 
Noel and two men attempted to 
run the gantlet in a jeep and were 

The Chinese at about 0430 sent 
several prisoners into Mc- 
Laughlin's position bearing a 
demand that the Americans sur- 
render. McLaughlin and a British 
Marine went out under a white 
flag to parley. In a desperate act of 
bravado McLaughlin pretended 
that the Chinese wished to surren- 
der to him, but the enemy was nei- 
ther impressed nor amused, They 
gave him 10 minutes to capitulate 
or face an all-out assault. 
McLaughlin, with only about 40 

A gaggle of Marines, looking like giant penguins in their hooded parkas, watch 
with great interest an air strike against a hill outside Koto-ri on 28 November. The 
next day these Marines very probably could have been part of Task Force 
Drysdale, which would depart Koto-ri to fight its way to Hagaru-ri. 

Photo by Cpl W. T. Wolfe, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4865 


able-bodied defenders and almost 
no ammunition, reluctantly decided 
to surrender but with the condi- 
tion that his most serious wounded 
be evacuated. The Chinese agreed 
to his terms. The Chinese did not 
live up to their promise, but they 
did, however, permit some of the 
wounded to be placed in houses 
along the road where they might 
eventually be found. 

While McLaughlin was negotiat- 
ing his surrender, some few 
Americans and British Marines and 
a considerable number of U.S. sol- 
diers managed to slip away from 
the smaller perimeters to the 
south. This group, led largely by 
Major Henry W. "Pop" Seeley, Jr., 

33, Amherst College 1939, made its 
way successfully back to Koto-ri. 
Seeley had spent four years in the 
Pacific during World War II and 
had been well decorated for his 

Drysdale had continued his 
start-and-stop progress with Com- 
pany D's tanks, Company G, and 
the larger part of 41 Commando, 
not knowing what had happened to 
the rear half of his haphazard 
command. One of the tanks was 
knocked out by a satchel charge. 
Drysdale received a grenade frag- 
ment in the arm and deferred 
command of the column, momen- 
tarily, to Sitter. 

Well after dark the first of 

Majjohn N. McLaughlin, left, taken prisoner during the disastrous advance of 
Task Force Drysdale from Koto-ri to Hagaru-ri, is welcomed hack from captivi- 
ty, still in his Chinese cap and coat, on 5 September 1953, by BGen Joseph C. 
Burger, then the assistant division commander of the 1st Marine Division. 

Photo by TSgt Jack E. Ely, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A1744606. 

Company D's tanks, leading the 
column, burst through Hagaru-ri's 
south roadblock, flattening one of 
Weapons Company's jeeps in the 
process. Sitter's George Company 
came into the perimeter, battered 
but intact. The Royal Marine 
Commando, in accordance with its 
training, split into small groups. 
For most of the night, U.S. Marines 
on the perimeter were treated to 
English accents shouting, "Don't 
shoot, Yanks. We're coming 
through." Royal Marine troop com- 
mander Lieutenant Peter Thomas 
said later, "I never thought I 
should be so glad to see an 
American." At about midnight, 
Lieutenant Colonel Drysdale, 
blood dripping down his arm, 
gave Lieutenant Colonel Ridge a 
side-winding salute and reported 
41 Commando present for duty. 

By best estimates, Task Force 
Drysdale had begun the day with 
922 officers and men. Something 
like 400 men reached Hagaru-ri, 
another 300 hundred found their 
way back to Koto-ri. Killed in 
action and missing in action were 
estimated at 162. Another 159 men 
were identified as wounded. 
Forty-four Marines, originally listed 
as missing, were taken prisoner. 
Of these, just 25 either escaped or 
survived their captivity. Chidester 
and Eagan were among those 
wounded who died in captivity. 
The column had started with 141 
vehicles and 29 tanks. Of these, 75 
vehicles and one tank were lost. 

George Company Goes Up 
East Hill 

Lieutenant Colonel Ridge's com- 
mand group had remarkably good 
intelligence as to the extent of the 
enemy outside the Hagaru-ri 
perimeter, the information often 
brought in by "line-crossers," 
plainclothes Korean agents who 
boldly moved in and out of the 


National Archives Photo (USAF) AC40314 

Ammunition and supplies for the embattled Marines descend from a C-119 
Flying Boxcar of the Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo Command. This was the 
only photograph the U.S. Air Force photographer was able to take before 23-degree- 
below-zero weather froze the shutter on his camera. 

perimeter. The Chinese 58th 
Division's reported intentions to 
renew its attack against Hagaru-ri 
seem to have been thwarted by 
well-placed air attacks during the 
day and heavy artillery and mortar 
fires during the night. Ridge's sup- 
porting arms coordinator also 
experimented with night close air 
support, using converging bands 
of machine gun tracer fire to point 
out targets to the Corsair "night 
hecklers" overhead. 

At 0800 on 30 November, the 
morning after George Company's 
arrival and a scant night's sleep, 
Ridge ordered Sitter to pass 
through Myers' position on East 
Hill and continue the attack. 
Drysdale's 41 Commando was 
held in reserve. This company- 
sized force of highly trained Royal 
Marines gave Ridge a small but 
potent maneuver element, far 
more promising than the scratch 
reserve formations he had been 
forced to use. Drysdale and his 
officers spent much of the day 
reconnoitering possible counterat- 
tack routes and acquainting them- 
selves with supporting fire plans. "I 
felt entirely comfortable fighting 
alongside the Marines," said 

Sitter, stoic and unflappable, 
sent out his 1st and 2d Platoons to 
pass through Myers' toehold on 
the hill. They were then to attack on 
both sides of the ridge. The 3d 
Platoon and two platoons of Able 
Company engineers would follow 
in reserve. Progress was slow and 
Sitter used his reserve to envelop 
the Chinese right flank. The attack 
bogged down and Sitter asked for 
permission to set up defensive 
positions on the ground previous- 
ly held by Myers who had with- 
drawn his meager force. Corsairs 
were brought in and worked over 
the crest of the hill again and 
again, but George Company could 
not take the contested ground. 

That same day at Hagaru-ri, 30 
November, Colonel Brower, com- 
manding the 11th Marines, came 
down with a serious liver infec- 
tion. Command of the regiment 
passed to his executive officer, 
Lieutenant Colonel Youngdale. 

Disaster Threatens Ri 

Sung Shi-lun was amazingly 
well informed as to exactly what his 
opponents were doing. Chinese 
reconnaissance was good; and 

Korean civilians, including line 
crossers, were at least as useful to 
the Chinese as they were to the 
Americans. Moreover, he appar- 
ently had a serviceable quantity of 
signal intelligence from radio 
intercepts. Stymied by the Marines' 
stubborn defense at Yudam-ni and 
Hagaru-ri, he decided to finish off 
the U.S. Army forces east of the 
reservoir by adding the weight of 
the 81st Division to the 80th 
Division already engaged against 
Task Force Faith. 


The curious command relation- 
ships at Yudam-ni continued. 
Without a common commander in 
place on the ground, the two col- 
located regiments pursued their 
separate missions. Smith had 
issued an order on the afternoon of 
29 November directing Murray to 
assume responsibility for the pro- 
tection of the Yudam-ni area with 
his 5th Marines, while Litzenberg 
was to employ the entire 7th 
Marines in clearing the MSR to 
Hagaru-ri "without delay." 

Almond Issues New Orders 

At noon on 29 November, 
Almond departed Haneda airfield in 
Japan on his return flight from his 
meeting with MacArthur. Enroute 
to Yonpo he directed his G-3 and 
other staff members to commence 
planning the break-off of the 
offensive and the consolidation of 
the corps. When Almond arrived 
at his war room in Hamhung he 
saw that, in addition to the 
predicament of the 1st Marine 
Division and RCT-31 at the Chosin 
Reservoir, his remaining forces 
were in considerable disarray. 
Soule's 3d Infantry Division was 
headed in two different directions. 
A CCF column at Sachang far to 
the southwest of Yudam-ni had 
already engaged the division's 7th 
Infantry. The remaining two regi- 
ments, the 15th and 65th, were 
regrouping at Yonghong on the 
coast preparatory to attacking 
west, in accordance with orders to 
relieve pressure on the Eighth 
Army's dangling flank. In Barr's 
7th Infantry Division, MacLean's 
RCT-31 was already isolated and 
heavily engaged east of the reser- 
voir. Barr's remaining regiments, 
the 17th and 32d Infantry, were 
pulling back to the Pungsan area. 
By 2100 that evening X Corps 
Operation Order Number 8, pro- 
viding for the discontinuance of 

the attack to the northwest and the 
withdrawal of forces into the 
Hamhung-Hungnam perimeter, 
was ready for Almond's approval. 

By that order, Almond placed 
under Smith's command all Army 
troops in the Chosin Reservoir 
area, including Task Force Faith 
and elements at Hagaru-ri, effec- 
tive 0800 the next morning. Along 
with the assignment of these 
troops came a highly optimistic 
order from X Corps to Smith to 
"redeploy one RCT without delay 
from Yudam-ni area to Hagaru 
area, gain contact with elements of 
the 7th Inf Div E of Chosin 
Reservoir; coordinate all forces in 
and N of Hagaru in a perimeter 
defense based on Hagaru; open 
and secure Hagaru-Koto-ri MSR." 

At 0600, 30 November, Litz- 
enberg and Murray issued a joint 
order for the breakout. (Smith did 
admit in his log entry for 30 
November: "An ADC [assistant 
division commander; that is, Craig] 
would have come in handy at this 
point.") That same morning, 
Almond gave the senior members 
of his staff a fuller briefing on the 
MacArthur decision to go over to 
the strategic defensive. He made it 
known that he had also issued 
orders to the ROK I Corps to pull 
back. By this time the 3d ROK 
Division was at Hapsu and the 
Capital Division above Chongjin. 
They were now to withdraw to 
Songjin, a deepwater port about 
100 miles northeast of Hungnam. 

General Barr, who had estab- 
lished an advance command post at 
Hungnam, was among those pre- 
sent. After the briefing, Barr — 
whether at Almond's suggestion or 
on his own initiative is not clear — 
flew to Hagaru-ri. There he met 
with O.P. Smith and Hodes and 
then borrowed a Marine helicopter 
to go forward to Faith's position. 
Smith asked Hodes to draft a mes- 
sage advising Faith that his com- 

mand was now attached to the 1st 
Marine Division. Barr at this point 
was out of the operational chain-of- 
command to Task Force Faith, but 
RCT-31 was still, of course, part of 
the 7th Infantry Division. Barr told 
Smith that he was recalling Hodes 
from the Chosin Reservoir area to 
avoid any misunderstanding as to 
command arrangements. (Hodes 
would pay a last visit to Hagaru-ri 
on 2 December,) 

Barr arrived at Faith's command 
post shortly before noon. He pre- 
sumably informed Faith of the 
changed command status, either in 
substance or by delivering the 
Hodes dispatch. 

On his return to Hagaru-ri, Ban- 
agreed with Smith that Task Force 
Faith, with Marine and Navy close 
air support, could extricate itself 
and get back to Hagaru-ri. Almond 
arrived at about this time and met 
with Smith, Barr, and Hodes at 
Smith's forward command post, a 
few hundred yards from where 
Ridge's Marines were contending 
for possession of East Hill. Almond 
announced that he had aban- 
doned any idea of consolidating 
positions in the Chosin Reservoir 
area. A withdrawal would be 
made posthaste to Hungnam. 
Almond authorized Smith to 
destroy or burn all equipment that 
would impede his movement. 
Resupply would be by air. Smith 
demurred: "I told him that my 
movements would be governed by 
my ability to evacuate the wound- 
ed, that I would have to fight my 
way back and could not afford to 
discard equipment and that, there- 
fore, I intended to bring out the 
bulk of my equipment." 

Almond shrugged. He then 
directed Smith and Barr to work 
out a time-phased plan to pull 
back the three Army battalions of 
RCT-31 making up "Task Force 
Faith." Furthermore, if Faith failed 
to execute his orders, Almond 


National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC353607 

Cases of ammunition are sorted out and lashed together at Yonpo airfield on 29 
November before loading into C-47 transports of the Far East Air Force's Combat 
Cargo Command. This ammo was intended for RCT-31, better known as Task Force 
Faith, east of the reservoir. First airdrops directly from fapan would be to 
Hagaru-ri on 1 December. 

opined that he should be relieved. 

Almond later said that in addition 
to general instructions on with- 
drawal of forces and a specific 
plan for the withdrawal of RCT-31, 
he also asked Smith for an explicit 
plan for the evacuation of both 
Army and Marine wounded by 
way of the airstrip being complet- 
ed at Hagaru-ri. 

Almond told Barr that on his 
flight up to Hagaru-ri he had 
passed over a column of trucks 
halted on the road a few miles 
south of Koto-ri and recognized it 
as the 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, 
which was working its way up 
from Chinhung-ni. He suggested 
to Barr that he relieve the slow- 
moving battalion commander, 
West Pointer Lieutenant Colonel 
Richard F. Reidy. Barr objected, 
saying he did not know the situa- 
tion confronting the battalion. He 
may also have reminded Almond 
that all movements up to Koto-ri 
were being coordinated by X 
Corps. Almond telephoned (by 
radio link) his chief of staff, the 
able Major General Clark L. 
Ruffner, and ordered him to expe- 
dite the movement north of the 2d 
Battalion, 31st Regiment, to join 
Puller's forces at Koto-ri. Before 

leaving, Almond told Barr and 
Smith that Soule's 3d Infantry 
Division was doing a "magnifi- 
cent" job of covering the gap with 
the Eighth Army. 

After Almond had departed, 
Barr and Smith agreed that not 
much could be done for RCT-31 
until the 5th and 7th Marines 
arrived at Hagani-ri from Yudam-ni. 
Smith did order Litzenberg and 
Murray to expedite their with- 
drawal, destroying any supplies 
and equipment that had to be 

Ruffner sent Captain Joseph L. 
Gurfein, West Point 1944, to get 
Reidy, a short, chunky man whose 
face showed the marks of his box- 
ing days at the Academy, moving. 
Gurfein found Reidy and his bat- 
talion, which had only two rifle 
companies, stalled about three 
miles outside Puller's position. 
(The other rifle company had gone 
forward earlier, had been with 
Task Force Drysdale, and was now 
in place, more or less intact, at 
Koto-ri.) Reidy's battalion, urged 
on by Gurfein, made a faltering 
night attack and eventually pushed 
its way into Koto-ri. Puller gave 
the battalion a sector of Koto-ri's 
defensive perimeter. He also 

ordered Reidy (who was suffering 
from a badly infected foot) to take 
charge of the sizable number of 
soldiers from various units — 
including a detachment of the 
185th Engineer Battalion — that 
had now collected at Koto-ri. 

Willi Task Font' Faith 

During the daylight hours of 30 
November, Don Faith worked out 
counterattack plans to meet a pen- 
etration of his perimeter. The 
Chinese, not waiting for nightfall, 
began their attack in the after- 
noon. Task Force Faith's perimeter 
at Sinhung-ni was now isolated 
and alone with no friendly forces 
between it and Hagaru-ri. By mid- 
night the attack against Faith's 
perimeter had built up to unprece- 
dented intensity. There were pen- 
etrations, but Faith sealed these off 
with local counterattacks. At the 
aid station, medical supplies were 
completely exhausted. The dead, 
frozen stiff, were laid out in rows 
stacked about four feet high. 

Meanwhile, well to Faith's rear, 
headquarters elements of RCT-31 
and the 31st Tank Company at 
Hudong-ni, with 1st Marine Di- 
vision approval, had fallen back to 
Hagaru-ri. Two disabled tanks had 
to be abandoned along the four- 
mile route, but otherwise the 
march, about 325 soldiers alto- 
gether, was made without inci- 
dent. The regimental S-3, 
Lieutenant Colonel Berry K. 
Anderson, the senior Army officer 
present, was in charge. A new 31st 
Infantry headquarters was being 
formed at Hamhung, with Colonel 
John A. Gavin, USA, as its desig- 
nated commander, but it was not 
sent forward to Hagaru-ri. 

Intimations of an Evacuation 

By the end of November it was 
increasingly obvious that Rear 


Admiral James Doyle, who had 
landed the Marines at Inchon and 
again at Wonsan, was now going to 
have to lift them out of Hungnam 
as part of a massive amphibious 
withdrawal. Doyle, as Comman- 
der, Task Force 90, issued plans on 
28 November for a redeployment of 
United Nations forces. Doyle's 
plans called for the division of his 
Task Force 90 into two amphibious 
task groups. Task Group Three, 
under Rear Admiral Lyman A. 
Thackrey, would provide for 
amphibious evacuation on the 
west coast of Eighth Army units if 
required. Task Group One, under 
Doyle's immediate command, 
would execute the amphibious 
evacuation of east coast ports, pri- 
marily Hungnam. Task Group 
Three, with two-thirds of the 
amphibious force, would go to the 
west coast where the situation, at 
that moment, seemed more criti- 
cal. There would not be nearly 
enough amphibious ships for 
these tasks; there had to be an 
enormous gathering of merchant 
shipping. Vice Admiral Joy's 
deputy chief of staff, newly pro- 
moted Rear Admiral Arleigh 
Burke, largely ran this effort. 

The carrier-based aircraft 
brought together for the Inchon 
landing and then the Wonsan 
landing had by mid-November 
been largely dispersed. Left with 
Task Force 77 were the fast carriers 
Leyte (CV 32) and Philippine Sea 
(CV 47). Also still on station was the 
escort carrier Badoeng Strait (CVE 
116) — "Bing-Ding" to the Marines 
and sailors — but her sister ship 
Sicily (CVE 118), having dropped 
off VMF-214, the "Blacksheep" 
squadron, at Wonsan, was in port in 
Japan. Major Robert P. Keller had 
commanded the squadron until 20 
November when he was detached 
to become the Marine air liaison 
officer with Eighth Army and Fifth 
Air Force. In World War, Keller 

served in the Pacific with Marine 
Fighter Squadrons 212 and 223 
and was credited with at least one 
aerial victory. Command of VMF- 
214 was taken over by Major 
William M. Lundin. 

The big carrier Valley Forge (CV 
45), which on 3 July had been the 
first carrier to launch combat mis- 
sions against North Korean 
invaders, was on her way home 
for a much-needed refit. Now the 
emergency caused her to turn 
about and head for the Sea of 
Japan. Also on the way was the 
Princeton (CV 37), hurriedly 
yanked out of mothballs. But until 
these carriers could arrive, tactical 
air operations, including all impor- 
tant close air support, would have 
to be carried out by shore-based 
Marine squadrons and Navy and 
Marine squadrons in the Leyte, 
Philippine Sea, and Badoeng 

On 1 December the Far East Air 
Forces relinquished control of all 
tactical air support of X Corps to the 
1st Marine Aircraft Wing, which, in 
the words of air historian Richard P. 
Hallion, "performed brilliantly." 
The Princeton arrived on station 
on 5 December. By then Task 
Force 77 was giving the Chosin 
exodus its full attention. 

Carrier-based Vought F4U Cor- 
sairs and Douglas AD Skyraiders 
were the workhorses of Task 
Force 77. A typical ordnance load 
for the Corsair on a close air sup- 
port mission was 800 rounds for 
its 20mm guns, eight 5-inch rockets, 
and two 150-gallon napalm 
bombs. With this load the plane 
had an endurance of two-and-one- 
half hours. The Navy's Skyraider, 
much admired by the Marines, 
packed an ordnance load compa- 
rable to a World War II Boeing B- 
17 heavy bomber, commonly 400 
rounds of 20mm, three 150-gallon 
napalm bombs, and either twelve 5- 
inch rockets or twelve 250-pound 

fragmentation bombs. The Sky- 
raider could stay in the air for four 
hours with this load. 

I5:id \i»ht at Hagaru-ri 

The Marines at Hagaru-ri had 
another bad night on 30 
November. The Chinese, the 58th 
Division now augmented by the 
59th, assaulted Ridge's weary 
defenders once again in an attack 
pattern that repeated that of the 
night of the 28th. One regiment or 
more came in against the south- 
west face of the perimeter and 
unfortunately for them hit Item 
Company's well-entrenched posi- 
tion. First Lieutenant Joseph Fisher, 
always optimistic in his counting 
of enemy casualties, guessed that he 
killed as many as 500 to 750 of 
them. His own losses were two 
Marines killed, 10 wounded. 

Another Chinese regiment came 
across the contested ground on 
East Hill hitting the reverse slope 
defenses held chiefly by Sitter's 
Company G and 1st Engineer 
Battalion's Companies A and B. 
General Smith watched the fight 
from the doorway of his command 
post, two-thirds of a mile away. 
Some ground was lost. Ridge sent 
up a portion of his precious 
reserve, 41 Commando, to rein- 
force Company G, and the lost 
ground was retaken by early morn- 

After the night's action, Ridge, 
the defense force commander, 
came to see Smith at about 0900. 
"He was pretty low and almost 
incoherent," Smith wrote in his log 
for 1 December. "The main trouble 
was loss of sleep. He was much 
concerned about another attack. 
He felt with the force available to 
him he could not hold both the 
airstrip and the ridge [East Hill] east 
of the bridge. I told him he would 
have to hold both and would have 
to do it with what we had." 


Casualty Kvacuation and KcsuppK 

Friday, 1 December — although 
no one thought of it that way at the 
time — was the turning point of the 

Lieutenant Colonel John Part- 
ridge's 1st Engineer Battalion had 
succeeded in hacking out the sem- 
blance of an airstrip from the 
frozen earth in 12 days of around- 
the-clock dangerous work, the 
engineers at times laying down 
their tools to take up rifles and 

machine guns. Heroic though the 
engineering effort was, the airstrip 
was only 40 percent complete. Its 
rough runway, 50-feet wide and 
2,900-feet long, fell considerably 
short of the length and condition 
specified by regulations for opera- 
tion of transport aircraft at those 
altitudes and temperatures. Smith 
decided that the urgency of the 
evacuation problem was such that 
the uncompleted airfield must be 
used, ready or not. 

Its impossible load of casualties 

was overwhelming the division 
field hospital — a collection of tents 
and Korean houses. Navy Captain 
Eugene R. Hering, the division sur- 
geon, met with General Smith that 
morning. Two additional surgical 
teams had been flown in by heli- 
copter from Hungnam. The two 
companies, Charlie and Easy, of 
the 1st Medical Battalion, already 
had some 600 patients. Hering 
expected 500 more casualties from 
Yudam-ni and 400 from the Army 
battalions east of the reservoir. 
Grim as his prediction of casualties 
was, these estimates would prove to 
be much too low. 

Until the airstrip was opera- 
tional, aerial evacuation of the 
most serious cases had been limit- 
ed to those that could be flown 
out by the nine helicopters and 10 
light aircraft of Major Gottschalk's 
VMO-6, which also had many 
other missions to perform. From 
27 November to 1 December, 
VMO-6, struggling to fly at the 
cold, thin altitudes, had lifted out 
152 casualties — 109 from Yudam-ni, 
36 from Hagaru-ri, and 7 from 
Koto-ri. One of Gottschalk's pilots, 
First Lieutenant Robert A. Long- 
staff, was killed on an evacuation 
flight to Toktong Pass. 

At 1430 on Friday afternoon, the 
first Air Force C-47 transport 
touched down on the frozen 
snow-covered runway. A half-hour 
later the plane, loaded with 24 
casualties, bumped its way off the 
rough strip into the air. Three 
more planes came in that after- 
noon, taking out about 60 more 
casualties. "It takes about a half 
hour to load a plane with litter 
patients," Smith noted in his log. 
"Ambulatory patients go very 
much faster." The last plane in for 
the day, arriving heavily loaded 
with ammunition, collapsed its 
landing gear and had to be 

Because of Smith's foresight, 

LtCol Murray, exact location and time unknown, but possibly mid-November at 
Hagaru-ri, briefs Maj Vincent J. Gottschalk, commanding officer of VMO-6, on 
the locations of units of his regiment. Between 27 November and 1 December, VMO- 
6's helicopters flew 152 medical evacuation missions in addition to many other 
reconnaissance and liaison missions. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A130916 


Photo by Sgt William R. Keating, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5683 

Casualty evacuation from Hagaru-ri airstrip began on 1 December, although the 
condition of the field fell far short of what safety regulations required. Here, on 
a subsequent day, an ambulance discharges its cargo directly into an Air Force 
C-47 or Marine Corps R-4D transport. Weapons of other, walking wounded, 
casualties form a pile in the foreground. 

the X Corps' deputy chief of staff, 
visited Smith. McCaffrey, who had 
been Almond's chief of staff in the 
92d Infantry Division in Italy, out- 
lined for Smith the plan for con- 
striction into a Hungnam 
perimeter and its subsequent de- 
fense. Soule's 3d Infantry Division 
was to move elements to the foot of 
Funchilin Pass and provide a cov- 
ering force through which the 1st 
Marine Division would withdraw. 
The 1st Marine Division would 
then organize a defensive sector 
west and southwest of Hungam. 
The 7th Infantry Division would 
occupy a sector northeast and 
north of Hungnam. 

The consolidation of X Corps in 
the Hamhung-Hungnam area 
included the evacuation of 
Wonsan to the south. Major 
General Field Harris, commanding 
the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 
ordered MAG- 12 — the Marine air- 
craft group had three tactical 
squadrons and a headquarters 

Hagaru-ri was already stockpiled 
with six days of rations and two 
days of ammunition. The first air- 
drop from Air Force C-119 "Flying 
Box Cars" flying from Japan was 
on that same critical 1st of 
December. The drops, called 
"Baldwins," delivered prearranged 
quantities of ammunition, rations, 
and medical supplies. Some drops 
were by parachute, some by free 
fall. The Combat Cargo Command 
of the Far East Air Forces at first esti- 
mated that it could deliver only 70 
tons of supply a day, enough per- 
haps for a regimental combat 
team, but not a division. By what 
became a steady stream of trans- 
ports landing on the strip and air 
drops elsewhere the Air Force 
drove its deliveries up to a 100 
tons a day. 

Toward the end of the day 
Lieutenant Colonel William J. 
McCaffrey, West Point 1939 and 

Mountains of supplies were rigged at Yonpo Airfield by Capt Hersel D. C. 
Blasingame's 1st Air Delivery Platoon for parachute drop, free airdrop, or sim- 
ply as cargo for the transports flying into Hagaru-ri. The 1st Marine Division need- 
ed 100 tons ofresupply a day, delivered by one means or another. 

Photo by SSgt Ed Barnum, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A130436 


squadron — to move up from 
Wonsan to Yonpo. The group 
commander, Colonel Boeker C. 
Batterton, 46, Naval Academy 
1928, had spent most of World War 
II with a naval aviation mission in 
Peru. MAG-12 completed the 
movement of its aircraft in one 
day — that same busy 1 December. 
Some planes took off from 
Wonsan, flew a mission, and land- 
ed at Yonpo. 

Hast of Chosin 

Total strength of RCT-31 has 
been calculated at a precise 3,155, 
but of this number probably not 
more than 2,500 fell under Don 
Faith's direct command in "Task 
Force Faith" itself. On the morning 
of 1 December, Lieutenant Colonel 
Faith, on his own initiative, began 
his breakout from Sinhung-ni to 
the south. He did not have a solid 
radio link to the 1st Marine 
Division, and had nothing more 
than a chancy relay through 
Marine Captain Edward P. 
Stamford's tactical air control net. 
Faith's own 1st Battalion, 32d 
Infantry, would lead off, followed 
by the 57th Field Artillery, with the 
3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, bringing 
up the rear. Trucks would be 
unloaded so as to carry the 
wounded. The howit2ers were 
spiked. Most jeeps and all inoper- 
able trucks were to be destroyed, as 
would be all supplies and equip- 
ment. In execution the destruction 
of the surplus was spotty. About 25 
to 30 vehicles — all that were still in 
operating condition — formed up 
into column. The overriding mission 
for Task Force Faith was now to 
protect the truck convoy with its 
hundreds of wounded. Much 
reliance would be placed on the 
automatic weapons fire of the 
tracked weapons carriers, down to 
three in number, two quad .50s 
and one dual 40mm. 

The column began to move out 
at about 1100. The soldiers could 
see the Chinese in plain sight on the 
surrounding high ground. Progress 
was slow. Mortar rounds contin- 
ued to fall, causing more casualties, 
and Chinese infantry began press- 
ing in on the column. The fighting 
for the first half-mile was particu- 
larly intense. Officers and non- 
commissioned officers suffered 
disproportionate losses. Control 
broke down. 

Captain Stamford and his tactical 
air control party tried to keep 
close air support overhead as con- 
tinuously as possible. Navy 
Corsairs from the fast carrier Leyte 
came on station at about 1300. 
With Stamford calling them in, the 
Corsairs used napalm and rockets 
and strafed with 20mm cannon. 
One napalm drop hit close to 
Faith's command group causing 
eight or ten casualties. This ghast- 
ly accident was demoralizing, but 
survivors agreed that without close 
air support the column would 
never have cleared the perimeter. 

Some of the soldiers on the 
point began to fall back. Faith 
drew his Colt .45 pistol and turned 
them around. Panicky KATUSAs — 
and some Americans — tried to 
climb into the trucks with the 
wounded. Riflemen assigned to 
move along the high ground on 
the flanks started to drift back to the 
road. The head of the column 
reached a blown bridge just north 
of Hill 1221 at about 1500. Some of 
the trucks, trying to cross the 
frozen stream, broke through the 
ice and had to be abandoned. 

The Chinese held the high 
ground on both sides of a road- 
block that now stood in the way 
and were in particular strength on 
Hill 1221. Faith, .45 in hand, gath- 
ered together enough men to 
reduce the roadblock. Other small 
groups of men clawed their way 
crossways along the slope of Hill 

1221. This fight was almost the last 
gasp of Task Force Faith. In the 
words of one major, "[After Hill 
1221] there was no organization 

Even so, by dusk the column 
was within four-and-one-half road 
miles of Hagaru-ri when a grenade 
fragment that penetrated his chest 
just above his heart killed Faith 
himself. His men propped up his 
body, with a blanket wrapped 
around his shoulders, in the cab of 
a truck — rather like a dead El Cid 
riding out to his last battle — hoping 
that word of his death would not 
spread through the column causing 
more demoralization. Just what 
happened to his body after that is 
not clear. 

As the column struggled on 
southward the Chinese methodi- 
cally continued their destruction of 
the convoy, truck by truck. 
Individual soldiers and small 
groups began to break away from 
the column to attempt to cross the 
frozen reservoir on foot. Task 
Force Faith, as such, had ceased to 

Ai Hagaru-ri 

During the fighting at Hagaru-ri 
from 28 November through 1 
December, Ridge's 3d Battalion, 
1st Marines, had suffered 43 killed, 
2 missing, and 270 wounded — a 
total of 315 battle casualties and a 
third of its beginning strength. The 
bits and pieces of Marine and 
Army units that made up the rest of 
the Hagaru-ri defense force had 
casualties perhaps this high if not 
higher. These casualties, however, 
did not come even close to those 
suffered by RCT-31 east of the 

Throughout the night of 1 
December survivors of Task Force 
Faith drifted into the north side of 
the perimeter at Hagaru-ri, most of 
them coming across the ice. 


Photo courtesy of Sgt Norman L. Strickbine, USA 

Moving toward the perceived safety of Hagaru-ri, soldiers of Task Force Faith march 
in a well dispersed but terribly exposed single column across the snow-covered, 
frozen surface of Pungnyuri Inlet. The -march across the ice would continue 
throughout the night of 1 December. 

During that last night all sem- 
blance of unit integrity dissolved. At 
about 0230 on the morning of 2 
December, Marine Captain Stam- 
ford appeared in front of Captain 
Read's artillery battery position. 
Stamford had been briefly taken 
prisoner but escaped. By mid- 
morning, 670 soldier survivors, 
many of them wounded or badly 
frostbitten, had found their way 
into Hagaru-ri warming tents. 
They had a terrible tale to tell. 

Dr. Hering, the division sur- 
geon, reported to Smith that 919 
casualties went out on 1 
December, but that among them 
there was a large number of malin- 
gerers. "Unfortunately," Smith en- 
tered in his log, "there are a good 
many Army men, not casualties 
who got on planes. . . . Men got on 
stretchers, pulled a blanket over 
themselves and did a little groaning, 
posing as casualties. . . .Tomorrow 
we will get this situation under 
control and will have MPs at the 
planes. No man will be able to 
board a plane without a [medical- 
ly issued] ticket." Smith, who had 
ordered Army Lieutenant Colonel 
Berry K. Anderson to organize 
physically fit soldier survivors into 
a provisional battalion, now 
"talked" to Anderson again and 

told him to get his soldiers under 

X Corps had set up a clearing sta- 
tion at Yonpo. Triage determined 
those casualties who would recov- 
er in 30 days or less. They went to 
the 1st Marine Division Hospital in 
Hungnam, the Army's 121st 
Evacuation Hospital in Hamhung, 

or the hospital ship Consolation in 
Hungnam harbor. Casualties 
expected to require more than 30 
days hospitalization were flown 
on to Japan. 

Lieutenant Colonel Olin L. 
Beall, 52, a quintessential salty old 
mustang and a great favorite of 
General Smith, commanded the 
1st Motor Transport Battalion, 
which held a position on the 
northeast quadrant of the Hagaru- 
ri perimeter. Smith, not flamboyant 
himself, liked colorful leaders such 
as Beall and Puller. Murray, a very 
different style of leader, said of 
Beall: "We all agreed that he 
would have had to lived a thousand 
years to have done all the things he 
claimed to have done. But when 
people began checking up on 
some of the things that he had said 
he had done, by God, he had 
done them." 

Beall had enlisted in the Marine 
Corps on 5 April 1917, the day 
before war was declared on 

Marine wounded await evacuation at Yudam-ni. A total of 109 went out by heli- 
copter. The rest would go out by ambulance or truck once the 5th and 7th 
Marines broke their way through to Hagaru-ri. Fixed-wing aerial evacuation from 
Hagaru-ri began on 1 December. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4858 


Photo by Cpl Alex Klein, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC353559 
PFC Ralph C. Stephens, wounded at Koto-ri, receives whole blood at the 1st 
Marine Division hospital in Hamhung on 1 December. Administering the blood 
are HM 2/C Emmett E. Houston and Lt(jg) Vernon L. Summers. Until the airstrips 
opened at Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri, evacuation of the wounded was virtually 

Germany. He served in Cuba and 
Haiti, gained a temporary commis- 
sion, and went to France just as 
the war ended. He reenlisted in 
1920 and served as an officer — as 
did many other Marine noncom- 
missioned officers — in the Gen- 
darmerie d'Haiti chasing bandits. In 
1935 he reached the much- 
respected warrant grade of Marine 
gunner. By the end of World War II 
he was a major and a veteran of 

On Saturday, 2 December 1950, 
Beall led a rescue column of jeeps, 
trucks, and sleds across the ice 
looking for other Task Force Faith 
survivors. Marine Corsairs covered 
his efforts, flying so low that he 
said, "I could have scratched a 
match against their bellies." He 
brought in 319 soldiers, many of 
them in a state of shock. The 
Chinese did little to interfere 
except for long-range rifle fire. 

There is no agreement on exact 
Army casualty figures. Perhaps 
1,050 survivors reached Hagaru-ri. 
Of these only 385 were found to be 
physically and mentally fit for 

combat. These soldiers were given 
Marine weapons and equipment. 
Not a single vehicle, artillery 
piece, mortar, or machine gun of 
Task Force Faith had been saved. 
When Almond visited Smith that 
same Saturday, he had, in Smith's 
words, "very little to say about the 
tactical situation. He is no longer 
urging me to destroy equipment." 

Coming Out of Yudam-ni 

All day long on Thursday, 30 
November, at Yudam-ni the 
Chinese harried the perimeter with 
long-range small arms fire and 
minor probing attacks. As a step in 
the regroupment of their battered 
regiments, Litzenberg and Murray 
organized a provisional battalion 
made up rather strangely of the 
combined Companies D and E, 7th 
Marines; and sections of 81mm 
mortars from the weapons compa- 
nies of the 2d and 3d Battalions, 7th 
Marines; and Companies A and G, 
5th Marines. Dog-Easy Company, 
under First Lieutenant Robert T. 
Bey, was really no more than two 

under strength platoons — a Dog 
Company platoon and an Easy 
Company platoon Litzenberg gave 
overall command of this odd 
assortment to Major Maurice 
Roach, former commander of the 
3d Battalion and now the regimen- 
tal S-3. 

A good part of the reason for 
forming the battalion was to free 
Lieutenant Colonel Davis of 
responsibility for Dog-Easy Com- 
pany and other attachments. The 
battalion, which was given its own 
sector in the perimeter, was 
assigned the radio sign 
"Damnation" and that became the 
short-lived battalion's title. Some- 
one tore up a green parachute to 
make a neckerchief, the practice 
caught on, and a green necker- 
chief became the battalion's 

The most difficult task in the 
disengagement probably fell to 
Roise's 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 
which held a long line stretching 
from Hill 1426 to 1282. Covered by 
air and artillery, Roise fell back 
about a mile from Hill 1426 to Hill 
1294. This and other movements 
freed up Harris' 3d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, to move to a position 
astride the MSR about 4,000 yards 
south of Yudam-ni. 

Litzenberg and Murray issued 
their second joint operation order 
on the morning of 1 December. 
Essentially it provided that the 7th 
Marines would move overland and 
the 5th Marines would move along 
the axis of the MSR. Both regi- 
ments put what were widely 
regarded as their best battalions 
out in front. Davis' 1st Battalion, 
7th Marines, would take to the 
hills; Taplett's 3d Battalion, 5th 
Marines, down to half-strength, 
would lead the way down the 
road. They were to converge in 
the general vicinity of Fox 
Company on Toktong Pass. Point 
for the advance along the road 


Photo by Cpl L. B. Snyder, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5667 

Maj Maurice E, Roach, the 7th Marines jack-of -all-trades, and for the moment 
commander of a provisional battalion, pauses for a photo with the regimental 
commander, Col Litzenberg, before leaving Yudam-ni on 1 December. Roach is 
wearing the Navy parka that was part of the winter uniform, but Litzenberg finds 
an Army field jacket sufficient for the daytime cold. 

would be the single Marine tank 
that had reached Yudam-ni. Staff 
Sergeant Russell A. Munsell and 
another crewman were flown up by 
helicopter from Hagaru-ri to drive 

Major William McReynolds' 4th 
Battalion, 11th Marines, was in 
general support of both regiments 
but under the command of nei- 
ther. The arrangement was made to 

work with Lieutenant Colonel 
Harvey A. Feehan, commander of 
the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, act- 
ing as coordinator of supporting 
artillery fire. McReynolds' battalion 
was ordered to shoot up most of its 
155mm ammunition before pulling 
out. Excess gunners were then 
organized into nine rifle platoons. 
The guns themselves were to 
bring up the rear of the convoy. 

Roach's "Damnation Battalion" 
was to have followed Davis across 
country, but Litzenberg reconsid- 
ered and broke up the battalion 
on 1 December returning its parts 
to their parent organizations 
except for Dog-Easy Company, 
which only had about 100 effec- 
tives. Litzenberg passed the 
orphan company to Murray who, in 
turn, passed it to Taplett, his 
advance guard commander. 

All available Marine aircraft 
were to be in the air to cover the 
withdrawal. They were to be 
joined by carrier aircraft from Task 
Force 77. On the ground only the 
drivers and the critically wounded 
would move by vehicle; the rest 
would walk. It was decided to 
leave the dead at Yudam-ni and a 
field burial was held for 85 

The grand parade began at 0800 
on 1 December. Taplett's 3d 
Battalion, 5th Marines, came down 
from its positions north of Yudam- 
ni, followed an hour-and-a-half 
later by Stevens' 1st Battalion. 
Company B of Stevens' battalion 
under First Lieutenant John R. 
Hancock made up the rear guard 
coming out of the town. 
Meanwhile the 3d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, under Harris proceeded 
to clear both sides of the road 
leading south, Company H going 
up Hill 1419 east of the road while 
the rest of the battalion went 
against Hill 1542 on the west side. 
Roise's 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 
having cleared the town, relieved 
Davis' 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 
on Hill 1276, freeing up Davis to 
pursue his overland mission. 
Harris was slow in taking Hill 
1542. By mid-afternoon, an impa- 
tient Taplett was in position 
behind Harris, ready to attack 
south astride the road even with 
his right flank somewhat exposed. 

Company H, 7th Marines, com- 
manded by First Lieutenant 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4862 

Marines depart Yudam-ni on 1 December. The general plan MajGen Smith did not formally designate an overall com- 
for the breakout was that the 5th Marines would follow the mander, but LtCol Murray deferred to Col Litzenberg 
axis of the MSR and the 7th Marines would move overland, because of seniority. 

Howard H. Harris, met trouble on 
Hill 1419. Harris' battalion com- 
mander, Lieutenant Colonel Harris, 
was fully occupied with problems 
on Hill 1542. Litzenberg, realizing 
that Hill 1419 was too far from Hill 
1542 for a mutually supporting 
attack, detached How Company 
from the 3d Battalion and assigned 
it to Davis' 1st Battalion. Davis, 
Hill 1419 now his responsibility, 
sent his Able Company to add its 
weight to How Company's effort. 

(Continued on page 84) 

Overleaf: "Band of Brothers" by 
Colonel Charles H. Waterhouse, 
USMCR (Ret), widely regarded by 
many Marine veterans of the Korean 
War as Waterhouse's masterpiece, 
shows the column of Marines winding 
its way down Funchilin Pass. 
Courtesy of Col Waterhouse and the 
Chosin Few Association. 

The 7th Marines command group breaks camp at Yudam-ni on 1 December in 
preparation for the march back to Hagaru-ri. The jeep in the foreground carries 
a radio. Note the long antenna. Below zero temperatures caused problems with 
battery life. Extra five-gallon cans of gasoline are lashed to the front bumper. 

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5666 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5670 
The heaviest guns in the defense of Yuclam-ni were the 1 55mm howitzers of the 
4th Battalion, 11th Marines, commanded by Maj William McReynolds. Shown here, 
the big guns are preparing to leave the perimeter, towed by their tractor prime 
movers. Excess gunners were reorganized into provisional rifle units. 

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Harris had 
been wounded and Second 
Lieutenant Minard P. Newton, Jr., 
had taken over the company. Able 
Company, under Captain David W. 
Banks, passed through How 
Company and took the hill at 
about 1930. 

Davis now stripped his battalion 
down for its cross-country trek. 
Everything needed for the march 
would have to be hand carried. He 
decided to go very light, taking 
only two 81mm mortars and six 
heavy machine guns (with double 
crews) as supporting weapons 
from his Weapons Company. His 
vehicles, left behind with his sick, 
walking wounded, and frostbite 
cases as drivers, were to join the 
regimental train on the road. 
Baker Company, now command- 
ed by First Lieutenant Joseph R. 
Kurcaba, led off the line of march, 
followed by Davis and his com- 
mand group, then Able Company, 
Charlie Company, battalion head- 
quarters, and How Company, still 

It was a very dark night. The 
guide stars soon disappeared. The 
snow-covered rock masses all 
looked alike. The point had to 
break trail, through snow knee- 
deep in places. The path, once 
beaten, became icy and treacher- 
ous. Marines stumbled and fell. 

Radios would not work reliably. 
Davis, moving ahead and floun- 
dering in the snow, lost touch with 
the forward elements of his battal- 
ion for a time. He continued for- 
ward until he reached the point. 
His map, hurriedly read by a flash- 
light held under a poncho, told 
him that they were climbing Hill 
1520, the slopes of which were 
held by the Chinese. Baker and 
Charlie Companies converged on 
the Chinese who were about a 
platoon in strength, taking them 
by surprise. Davis stopped on the 
eastern slope of Hill 1520 to reor- 
ganize. Enemy resistance had 
slackened to small arms fire from 
ridges across the valley but Davis' 
men were numb with cold and 
exhausted. At 0300 he again halted 
his advance to give his Marines a 
rest, sending out small patrols for 
security. Now, for the first time, he 
gained radio contact with regi- 

On the MSR with the 
5th Marines 

Taplett, meanwhile, was march- 
ing southward astride the MSR, led 

Before leaving Yudam-ni, as a matter of professional pride, the 5th and 7th Marines 
"policed up the area. " Trash, including remnants of rations, was collected into 
piles and burned. Slim pickings were left for Chinese scavengers who, desperate 
for food, clothing, and shelter, followed close behind the departing Marines. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A4848 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5666 

In coming back from Yudam-ni, the 1st Marine Division's large number of 
road-bound wheeled vehicles was both an advantage and a handicap. They car- 
ried the wherewithal to live and fight; they also slowed the march and were a temp- 
tation for attack by the Chinese. Here an 11th Marines howitzer can be seen in 
firing position to cover the column 's rear. 

by the solitary Pershing tank, fol- 
lowed by a platoon from his How 
Company and a platoon of ever- 
useful engineers. His radio call 
sign, "Darkhorse," suited his own 
dark visage. He advanced for 
about a mile before being halted by 
heavy fire coming from both sides 
of the road. He fanned out How 
and Item Companies and they 
cleared the opposition by 1930. 

Taplett gave his battalion a brief 
rest and then resumed the 
advance. Item Company, led by 
Captain Harold Schrier, ran into 
stiff resistance on the reverse slope 
of still-troublesome Hill 1520 east of 
the road. Schrier received permis- 
sion to fall back to his jump-off 
position so as to better protect the 
MSR. The Chinese hit with mortars 
and an infantry attack. Schrier was 
wounded for a second time and 
Second Lieutenant Willard S. 
Peterson took over the company. 
Taplett moved George Company 
and his attached engineers into 
defensive positions behind Item 
Company. It was an all-night fight. 
In the morning, 2 December, 342 

enemy dead were counted in front 
of Item Company. Peterson had 
only 20 Marines still on their feet 
when George Company passed 
through his position to continue 
the attack against Hill 1520. 
George and How Company were 

both down to two-platoon 

As a reserve Taplett had Dog- 
Easy Company, 7th Marines, 
detached from the now-dissolved 
"Damnation Battalion." Dog-Easy 
Company moved onto the road 
between How and George 
Companies. By noon George 
Company, commanded by Captain 
Chester R. Hermanson, had taken 
Hill 1520 and Dog-Easy had run 
into its own fight on the road. 
Second Lieutenant Edward H. 
Seeburger, lone surviving officer 
of Dog Company, was severely 
wounded while giving a fire com- 
mand to the solitary tank. He 
refused evacuation. (Seeburger 
faced long hospitalization and 
after a year was physically retired as 
a first lieutenant. In 1995 he 
received a belated Navy Cross.) 

Corsairs reduced the roadblock 
that held up Dog-Easy Company. 
"Darkhorse" trudged on, How and 
George Companies on both sides of 
the MSR and Dog-Easy moving 
down the middle, followed by the 
engineers and the solitary tank. 

After leaving Yudam-ni, a unit of the 7th Marines, possibly a company ofLtCol 
Davis' 1st Battalion, leaves the road to climb into the hills. Davis' objective was 
to come down on Toktong Pass from higher ground so as to relieve Capt Barber's 
embattled Fox Company. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4849 


With Davis" Battalion in the Hills 

East of the MSR at daybreak, 
Davis reoriented the direction of 
his march. The 1st Battalion, 7th 
Marines, passed over the east 
slope of Hill 1520 and attacked 
toward Hill 1653, a mountain a 
mile-and-a-half north of Toktong 
Pass. Davis' radios could not reach 
Barber on Fox Hill nor could he talk 
directly to the Corsairs circulating 
overhead. Fortunately opposition 
was light except for Chinese nib- 
bling against the rear of his col- 
umn where Company H, 3d 
Battalion, was bringing up the 
wounded on litters. Davis con- 
verged on Hill 1653 with his three 
organic rifle companies. 

At last, radio contact was made 
with Captain Barber on Fox Hill. 
Barber jauntily offered to send out 
a patrol to guide Davis into his 
position. Davis declined the offer 
but did welcome the control of 
VMF-312's Corsairs by Barber's 
forward air controller. Just before 
noon, lead elements of Company B 
reached Barber's beleaguered 

Company A halted on the north 
side of Hill 1653 to provide man- 
power to evacuate casualties. 
Twenty-two wounded had to be 
carried by litter to safety. The reg- 
imental surgeon, Navy Lieutenant 
Peter E. Arioli, was killed by a 
Chinese sniper's bullet while 
supervising the task. Two Marines, 
who had cracked mentally and 
who were restrained in improvised 
strait jackets, died of exposure 
before they could be evacuated. 
Marines of Kurcaba's Company B 
celebrated their arrival on Fox Hill 
with a noontime meal of air- 
dropped rations. They then went on 
to take the high ground that dom- 
inated the loop in the road where 
the MSR passed through Toktong 
Pass. First Lieutenant Eugenous M. 
Hovatter's Company A followed 

them and the two companies set up 
a perimeter for the night. 
Meanwhile the balance of Davis' 
battalion had joined Barber on Fox 
Hill. Barber's Company F had suf- 
fered 118 casualties — 26 killed, 3 
missing, and 89 wounded — almost 
exactly half of his original comple- 
ment of 240. Six of the seven offi- 
cers, including Barber himself, 
were among the wounded. 

5th Marines on the Road 

At the rear of the column on the 
MSR, Lieutenant Colonel Roise's 
2d Battalion, 5th Marines, the des- 
ignated rear guard, had troubles of 
its own on Hill 1276 during the 
early morning hours of 2 
December. Captain Uel D. Peters' 
Company F was hit hard. Night 
fighters from VMF(N)-542 came on 
station and were vectored to the 
target by white phosphorus 
rounds delivered by Company F's 
60mm mortars. Strafing and rockets 
from the night fighters dampened 
the Chinese attack, but the fight 
continued on into mid-morning 
with Fox Company tiying to regain 
lost ground. By then it was time 
for Roise to give up his position 
on Hill 1276 and continue the 
march south. 

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Stevens' 
1st Battalion, 5th Marines, had its 
fight that night of 1-2 December 
east of the road, being hit by a 
Chinese force that apparently had 
crossed the ice of the reservoir. 
Stevens guessed the number of 
Chinese killed at 200, at least 50 of 
them cut down in front of Charlie 
Company by machine guns. 

Lieutenant Colonel William 
Harris' 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 
meanwhile was continuing to have 
trouble on Hill 1542. Litzenberg 
reinforced Harris with a composite 
unit, called "Jig Company," made 
up of about 100 cannoneers, head- 
quarters troops, and other individ- 

uals. Command of this assortment 
was given to First Lieutenant 
Alfred I. Thomas. Chinese records 
captured later indicated that they 
thought they had killed 100 
Americans in this action; actual 
Marine losses were something 
between 30 and 40 killed and 

Yudam-tii to Hagaru-ri, 
2-3 December 

At the head of the column, 
Taplett's Darkhorse battalion on 
the morning of 2 December had to 
fight for nearly every foot of the 
way. George Company still had 
Hill 1520 to cross. Dog-Easy 
Company was moving along the 
road itself. South of Hill 1520 at a 
sharp bend in the road a bridge 
over a ravine had been blown, and 
the Chinese covering the break 
stopped Dog-Easy Company with 
machine gun fire. Twelve Corsairs 
came overhead and ripped into 
the ravine with strafing fire and 
rockets. Dog-Easy Company, 
helped by How Company, re- 
sumed its advance. The attached 
engineer platoon, now command- 
ed by Technical Sergeant Edwin L. 
Knox, patched up the bridge so 
vehicles could pass. The engineers 
had started out with 48 men; they 
were now down to 17. Taplett 
continued his advance through the 
night until by 0200, 3 December, he 
was only 1,000 yards short of Fox 
Hill. Taplett could only guess 
where Davis might be with the 1st 
Battalion, 7th Marines. 

To the rear, the Chinese pecked 
away at the Marines withdrawing 
from Hills 1276 and 1542. Stevens' 
1st Battalion, 5th Marines, continued 
to provide close-in flank protec- 
tion. Marine air held off much of die 
harassment, but the column of 
vehicles on the road moved slow- 
ly and the jeep and truck drivers 
became targets for Chinese 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4840 
Dead Marines at a Yuclam-ni aid station wait mutely on their stretchers for load- 
ing onto the truck that will take them to eventual burial. Once on the march, prac- 
tice was to carry those who died in the savage fighting in the hills down to the 
road where they could be picked up by the regiments' Graves Registration 

snipers. That night the Chinese got 
through to Lieutenant Colonel 
Feehan's 1st Battalion, 11th 
Marines, and the artillerymen had to 
repulse them with howitzer fire 
over open sights. 

Six inches of new snow fell dur- 
ing the night. In the morning, 3 
December, Taplett combined the 
remnants of Dog-Easy Company 
with George Company and 
returned the command to First 
Lieutenant Charles D. Mize, who 
had had George Company until 17 
November. From up on Fox Hill, 
Davis made a converging attack 
against the Chinese still holding a 
spur blocking the way to Hagaru-ri. 
He pushed the Chinese into the 
guns of Taplett's battalion. An esti- 
mated battalion of Chinese was 
slaughtered. By 1300, Davis' 
"Ridgerunners" had joined up with 
Taplett's "Darkhorses." 

Davis and Taplett conferred. 

The senior Davis now took the 
lead on the MSR with his battalion. 
The lone tank still provided the 
point. The truck column reached 
Toktong Pass. The critically 
wounded were loaded onto the 
already over-burdened vehicles. 
Less severely wounded would 
have to walk. Stevens' 1st 
Battalion, 5th Marines, followed 
Davis' battalion, passing through 
Taplett's battalion. Taplett stayed 
in Toktong Pass until after mid- 
night. Coming up from the rear on 
the MSR was Roise's 2d Battalion, 
5th Marines, followed by Harris' 
3d Battalion, 7th Marines, now the 
rear guard. 

Sergeant Robert B. Gault, leader 
of the 7th Marines Graves 
Registration Section, came out of 
Yudam-ni in the column on the 
MSR with his five-man section and 
a truck with which to pick up 
Marine dead encountered along 

the way. As he remembered it a 
few months later: "That was the 
time when there was no outfit, 
you was with nobody, you was a 
Marine, you were fighting with 
everybody. There was no more 
5th or 7th; you were just one out- 
fit, just fighting to get the hell out 
of there, if you could." 

Column Reaches Uagaru-ri 

The six fighter-bomber squad- 
rons of Field Harris' 1st Marine 
Aircraft Wing flew 145 sorties on 
Sunday, 3 December, most of 
them in close support of the 5th and 
7th Marines. Under this aerial 
umbrella, Davis' 1st Battalion, 7th 
Marines, marched along almost 
unimpeded. In the early evening, 
Ridge sent out Drysdale with 41 
Commando, supported by tanks 
from Drake's 31st Tank Company, 
to open the door to the Hagaru-ri 
perimeter. At about 1900, a few 
hundred yards out, Davis formed 
up his battalion into a route column 
and they marched into the perime- 
ter, singing The Marines' Hymn. 
Hagaru's defenders greeted the 
marchers with a tumultuous wel- 
come. A field mess offered an 
unending supply of hot cakes, 
syrup, and coffee. Litzenberg's 7th 
Marines command group arrived 
shortly after Davis' battalion and 
was welcomed into the motor 
transport area by Litzenberg's old 
friend, Olin Beall. 

In Tokyo that Sunday, Mac- 
Arthur sent a message to the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff that X Corps was 
being withdrawn to Hungnam as 
rapidly as possible. He stated that 
there was no possibility of uniting 
it with Eighth Army in a line across 
the peninsula. Such a line, he said, 
would have to be 150 miles long 
and held alone by the seven 
American divisions, the combat 
effectiveness of the South Korean 
army now being negligible. 


Sketch by Sgt Ralph Schofield, USMCR 

The 5th and 7th Marines on arrival at Hagaru-ri combat base inexhaustible menu of hot cakes, syrup, and coffee. After a 
found hot chow waiting for them. The mess tents, operating few days rest and reorganization, the march to the south 
on a 24-hour basis, provided an almost unvarying hut resumed. 

The Chinese made no serious 
objection to the last leg of the 
march from Yudam-ni to Hagaru-ri 
until about 0200 on Monday morn- 
ing, 4 December, when the prime 
movers hauling eight of Mc- 
Reynolds' 155mm howitzers at the 
rear of the column ran out of 
diesel fuel. That halted the column 
and brought on a Chinese attack. 
Taplett's battalion, unaware of the 
break, continued to advance. The 
artillerymen — assisted by bits and 
pieces of the 1st and 2d Battalions, 
5th Marines, who were on the high 
ground to the flanks — defended 
themselves until Taplett could face 
around and come to their rescue. 

It was a bad scene. The eight 
heavy howitzers had been pushed 
off the road, perhaps prematurely, 
and would have to be destroyed the 
next day by air strikes. A half-mile 
farther down the MSR was a cache 

of air-delivered diesel fuel that 
would have fueled the prime 
movers. By 0830 the road was 
again open. Chinese losses were 
guessed at 150 dead. 

At 1400 on Monday, the rear 
guard, still provided by the 3d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, marched 
into Hagaru-ri and the four-day, 
14-mile, breakout from Yudam-ni 
was over. The Marines had 
brought in about 1,500 casualties, 
some 1,000 of them caused by the 
Chinese, the rest by the cold. 
Smith obseived in his log: "The 
men of the regiments are. . . pret- 
ty well beaten down. We made 
room for them in tents where they 
could get warm. Also they were 
given hot chow. However, in view 
of their condition, the day after 
tomorrow [6 December] appears to 
be the earliest date we can start 
out for Koto-ri." 

Reorganization at Hagaru-ri 

Ridge's Marine defenders of 
Hagaru-ri breathed much more 
easily after the arrival in their 
perimeter of the 5th and 7th RCTs. 
A sanguine corporal opined to his 
company commander: "Now that 
the 5th and 7th Marines are here, 
we can be resupplied by air, hold 
until spring, and then attack again 
to the north." 

General Almond flew into 
Hagaru-ri on Monday afternoon to 
be briefed on the breakout plan 
and while there pinned Army 
Distinguished Service Crosses on 
the parkas of Smith, Litzenberg, 
Murray, and Beall. Almond then 
flew to Koto-ri where he decorated 
Puller and Reidy (who had been 
slow in getting his battalion to 
Koto-ri) with Distinguished Service 
Crosses. Nine others, including 


Gurfein, who had nudged Reidy 
into moving, received Silver Stars. 
Reidy was relieved of his com- 
mand not much later. 

For the breakout, Murray's RCT- 
5, with Ridge's 3d Battalion, 1st 
Marines, and 41 Commando 
attached, would briefly take over 
the defense of Hagaru-ri while 
Litzenberg's RCT-7, beginning at 
first light on Wednesday, 6 
December, would march to the 
south. Puller's RCT-1 would con- 
tinue to hold Koto-ri and 
Chinhung-ni. All personnel except 
drivers, radio operators, and casu- 
alties were to move on foot. 
Specially detailed Marines were to 
provide close-in security to the 
road-bound vehicles. Any that 
broke down were to be pushed to 
the side of the road and destroyed. 
Troops were to carry two-days of C 
rations and one unit of fire, which 
translated for most into full car- 
tridge belts and an extra bandoleer 

of ammunition for their M-l rifles. 
Another unit of fire was to be car- 
ried on organic vehicles. The vehi- 
cles were divided into two division 
trains. Lieutenant Colonel Banks, 
commanding officer of the 1st 
Service Battalion, was put in com- 
mand of Train No. 1 , subordinate to 
RCT-7. Train No. 2, subordinate to 
RCT-5, was given to Lieutenant 
Colonel Harry T. Milne, the com- 
mander of the 1st Tank Battalion. 
Although Smith had stated that he 
would come out with all his sup- 
plies and equipment, more realisti- 
cally a destruction plan, decreeing 
the disposal of any excess supplies 
and equipment, was put into effect 
on 4 December. Bonfires were 
built. Ironically, loose rounds and 
canned foods in the fires exploded, 
causing some casualties to Marines 
who crowded close to the fires for 

Air Force and Marine transports 
had flown out over 900 casualties 

on Saturday, 2 December, from 
Hagaru-ri, and more than 700 the 
next day. To the south that 
Sunday, 47 casualties were taken 
out by light aircraft from the strip at 
Koto-ri. But casualties kept piling 
up and by the morning of 
Tuesday, 5 December, some 1,400 
casualties — Army and Marine — still 
remained at Hagaru-ri. In a mag- 
nificent effort, they were all flown 
out that day. Altogether, in the first 
five days of December, by best 
count, 4,312 men — 3,150 Marines, 
1,137 soldiers, and 25 Royal 
Marines — were air-evacuated. 

Even a four-engine Navy R5D 
ventured a landing. Takeoff with a 
load of wounded in an R5D was so 
hairy that it was not tried again. 
An R4D — the Marine equivalent of 
the sturdy C-47 — wiped out its 
landing gear in landing. An Air 
Force C-47 lost power on take-off 
and crashed-landed outside the 
Marine lines. Marines rushed to 

Members of this patrol, moving along the abandoned nar- point and rear riflemen provide watchful cover. No wound- 
row gauge railroad track that paralleled the main supply ed Marine need worry about being left behind, 
route, help along a wounded or exhausted comrade while the 

Sketch by Sgt Ralph Schofield, USMCR 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A4909 

Aerial evacuation of wounded and severely frostbitten Marines and soldiers 
from Hagaru-ri saved many lives. During the first five days of December, 4,312 
men — 3, 150 Marines, 1, 13 7 soldiers, and 25 Royal Marines — were air evacuated 
by Air Force and Marine transports that also brought in supplies and replacements. 

the rescue. The plane had to be 
abandoned and destroyed, but 
there were no personnel casualties 
during the entire evacuation 

During those same first five 
days of December, 537 replace- 
ments, the majority of them recov- 
ering wounded from hospitals in 
Japan, arrived by air at Hagaru-ri. 
Most rejoined their original units. A 
platoon sergeant in Weapons 
Company, 3d Battalion, 1st 
Marines, wounded in the fighting in 
Seoul, assured his company com- 
mander that he was glad to be 

Visitors who could wangle 
spaces on board the incoming 
transports began arriving at 
Hagaru-ri. Marguerite "Maggie" 
Higgins of the New York Herald- 
Tribune, well known to the 
Marines from both the Pusan 
Perimeter and the Inchon-Seoul 
campaigns, was among the gaggle 
of war correspondents that arrived 
on Tuesday, 5 December, including 
former Marine combat correspon- 
dent Keyes Beach. Higgins an- 
nounced her intention to march 
out with the Marines. General 

Smith disabused her of her intention 
and ordered that she be out of the 
perimeter by air by nightfall. 

A British reporter made the 
impolite error of referring to the 
withdrawal as a "retreat," Smith 
patiently corrected him, pointing 
out that when surrounded there 
was no retreat, only an attack in a 
new direction. The press improved 
Smith's remark into: "Retreat, hell, 
we're just attacking in a new direc- 
tion." The new television technol- 
ogy was demonstrated by scenes 
taken of the aerial evacuation of 
the casualties and an interview 
with General Smith and Lieutenant 
Colonel Murray. 

Major General William H. 
Tunner, USAF, commander of the 
Combat Cargo Combat and greatly 
admired by the Marines because of 
the sterling performance of his 
command, was one of the visitors. 
Tunner had flown the Hump from 
Burma into China during World 
War II and later commanded much 
of the Berlin Airlift. He solicitously 
offered to evacuate the rest of the 
troops now in Hagaru-ri. Smith 
stiffly told him that no man who 
was able-bodied would be evacu- 

ated. "He seemed somewhat sur- 
prised," wrote Smith. 

Almond met with Major General 
Soule, commander of the 3d 
Infantry Division, that Tuesday, 5 
December, and ordered him to 
form a task force under a general 
officer "to prepare the route of 
withdrawal [of the 1st Marine 
Division] if obstructed by explo- 
sives or whatnot, especially at the 
bridge site." The site in question 
lay in Funchilin Pass. Almond 
apparently did not know that the 
bridge had already been de- 
stroyed. The downed span threat- 
ened to block the Marines' 
withdrawal. Soule gave command 
of what was designated as "Task 
Force Dog" to his assistant division 
commander, Brigadier General 
Armistead D. "Red" Mead, a hard- 
driving West Pointer who had 
been G-3 of the Ninth Army in the 
European Theater in World War II. 

Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri, 6 December 

At noon on Tuesday, 5 
December, Murray relieved Ridge of 
his responsibility as Hagaru-ri 
defense commander, and the bat- 
talions of the 5th Marines plumped 
up the thin lines held by the 3d 
Battalion, 1st Marines. The 
Chinese did not choose to test the 
strengthened defenses, but at 
about 2000 that evening an Air 
Force B-26 mistakenly dropped a 
stick of six 500-pound bombs 
close to Ridge's command tent. 
His forward air controller could 
not talk to the Air Force pilot 
because of crystal differences in 
their radios, but an obliging 
Marine night-fighter from Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Max J. Volcansek, Jr.'s 
VMF(N)-542 came overhead and 
promised to shoot down any Air 
Force bomber that might return to 
repeat the outrage. 

The well-liked Max Volcansek, 
36, born in Minnesota, had come 


Photo by Cpl Arthur Curtis, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC354492 
After her adventures at Cbosin, including her aborted efforts to march out with 
the Marines, Marguerite "Maggie" Higgins, wearing a Navy parka and shoe-pacs, 
arrived safely at Haneda Air Force Base, Tokyo, on 15 December. Her broadly 
smiling traveling companion is Army MajGen William F. Marquat of 
MacArthur's staff. 

into the Marine Corps as an aviation 
cadet in 1936 after graduating from 
Macalester College. During World 
War II he had flown Corsairs while 
commanding VMF-222 in the 
Pacific and had scored at least one 
Japanese plane. During the battle 
for Seoul he had been wounded 
and shot down but quickly recov- 
ered and continued in command 
of VMF(N)-542. 

The plan of attack for 
Wednesday, 6 December, called 
for the 5th Marines to clean up 
East Hill while the 7th Marines 
moved south along the MSR 

toward Koto-ri. Close air support for 
the attack against East Hill was to be 
on station at 0700. With a touch of 
condescension, Murray's Marines 
told Ridge's Marines to stand back 
and watch for a demonstration of 
how a hill should be taken. 

Smith wanted to march out with 
his men, but Shepherd ordered 
him to fly to Koto-ri. Death or 
wounding of Smith, or worse, his 
capture by the Chinese, could not 
be risked. By this time the lurking 
presence of seven CCF divisions 
had been identified by prisoner of 
war interrogations — the 58th, 

59th, 60th, 76th, 79th, 80th, and 
89th. Two more divisions — the 
77th and 78th — were reported in 
the area but not yet confirmed. 

Later it would be learned that 
the 26th CCF Army — consisting of 
the 76th, 77th, and 78th Divisions, 
reinforced by the 88th Division 
from the 30th CCF Army, had 
moved down from the north into 
positions on the east side of the 
MSR between Hagaru-ri and Koto- 
ri. They had relieved the 60th 
Division, which had moved into 
positions south of Koto-ri. 
Elements of the 60th Division 
were preparing for the defense of 
Funchilin Pass including positions 
on the dominant terrain feature, 
Hill 1081. Even farther south the 
89th Division was positioning 
itself to move against the defenders 
of Chinhung-ni. 

Murray has given a characteristi- 
cally laconic account of the attack 
by the 5th Marines against East 

I had been ordered to take 
a little hill, and I had Hal 
Roise do that job. When he 
got over there, he found 
about 200 Chinese in a mass, 
and he captured the whole 
crowd of them. So we had 
about 200 prisoners we had 
to take care of. ... A lot of 
them were in such bad shape 
that we left them there, left 
some medical supplies, and 
left them there for the 
Chinese to come along and 
take care of them after we 

It was not quite that simple. 
Heavy air, artillery, and mortar 
preparation began at 0700 on 
Thursday, 6 December. Captain 
Samuel S. Smith's Dog Company 
jumped off in the assault at 0900, 
beginning a fight that would go on 
until daylight the next morning. 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5520 
In a ceremony atMasan on 21 December, LtCol Harold S. Roise, the stalwart com- 
mander of 2d Battalion, 5tb Marines, receives a Silver Star for actions incident 
to the seizure ofKimpo Airfield after the Inchon landing. Further awards for Roise 
for heroism at Cbosin would come later. 

All three rifle companies of Roise's 
2d Battalion and Charlie Company 
of the 1st Battalion were drawn 
into it. Estimates of enemy killed 
ran as high as 800 to 1,000. East Hill 
was never completely taken, but 
the Chinese were pushed back far 
enough to prevent them from 
interfering with the exit of the 
division from Hagaru-ri. 

KCI-7 Attacks South 

General Smith planned to close 
his command post at Hagaru-ri on 
Wednesday morning, 6 December. 
Before he could leave General 
Barr, commander of the 7th 
Infantry Division, who arrived to 
check on the status of his soldiers, 
visited him. The survivors of Task 
Force Faith coupled with units that 

had been at Hagaru-ri and 
Hudong-ni added up to a provi- 
sional battalion of 490 able-bodied 
men under command of Army 
Lieutenant Colonel Anderson. As 
organized by Anderson, the "bat- 
talion" actually was two very small 
battalions (3d Battalion, 31st 
Infantry, under Major Carl Witte 
and 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, 
under Major Robert E. Jones) each 
with three very small rifle compa- 
nies. Smith attached Anderson's 
force to RCT-7 and it was some- 
times called "31/7." 

Litzenberg had about 2,200 
men — about half his original 
strength — for the breakout to 
Koto-ri. His attack order put 
Lockwood's 2d Battalion, with 
tanks, on the MSR as the advance 
guard; Davis' 1st Battalion on the 

right of Changjin River and the 
MSR; Anderson's provisional Army 
battalion on the left of the road; 
and Harris' 3d Battalion on the 
road as the rear guard. 

Lockwood, it will be recalled, 
had stayed at Hagaru-ri with his 
command group and much of his 
Weapons Company while Com- 
panies D and E went forward to 
Yudam-ni and Company F held 
Toktong Pass. At 0630, tanks from 
Company D, 1st Tank Battalion, 
led Lockwood's reunited, but piti- 
fully shrunken battalion out of the 
perimeter through the south road- 
block. Almost immediately it ran 
into trouble from Chinese on the 
left side of the road. The morning 
fog burned off and air was called in. 
A showy air attack was delivered 
against the tent camp south of the 
perimeter, abandoned days earlier 
by the Army engineers and now 
periodically infested with Chinese 
seeking warmth and supplies. 
Lockwood's two rifle companies — 
Fox Company and Dog-Easy 
Company — pushed through and 
the advance resumed at noon. 
Meanwhile, barely a mile out of 
Hagaru-ri, Captain John F. Morris' 
Company C, 1st Battalion, sur- 
prised an enemy platoon on the 
high ground to the southeast of 
the hamlet of Tonae-ri and killed 
most of them. 

At 1400 Smith received a reas- 
suring message from Litzenberg 
that the march south was going 
well. Smith decided that it was 
time to move his command post to 
Koto-ri. His aide, Major Martin J. 
"Stormy" Sexton, World War II 
raider, asked the commander of 
Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 
1st Marines, for the loan of a jeep 
to take his boss to the airstrip. A 10- 
minute helicopter ride took Smith 
and Sexton to Koto-ri where Puller 
was waiting. Smith began planning 
for the next step in the withdraw- 


Col Litzenberg's 7th Marines led off the march south from 
Hagaru-ri on 6 December. Here one of his units pauses at 
the roadblock held by Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 1st 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5464 
Marines, before exiting the town to watch a drop of napalm 
by a Marine Corsair against a camp abandoned by Army 
engineers, now infested with Chinese. 

Meanwhile Lockwood's 2d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, had run 
into more serious trouble another 
mile down the road. Davis' 1st 
Battalion, up in the hills, could see 
the enemy; Lockwood's battalion, 
on the road itself, could not. Fox 
Company, with some help from 
Dog-Easy Company and the Army 
mini-battalions under Anderson, 
pushed through at about 1500. 
Davis' battalion continued to play 
company-sized hopscotch from 
hilltop to hilltop on the right of the 
road. By dark, lead elements of 
RCT-7 were about three miles 
south of Hagaru-ri. Enemy resis- 
tance stiffened and air reconnais- 
sance spoke of Chinese columns 
coming in from the east, but 
Litzenberg decided to push on. 
After two more miles of advance, 
Lockwood's battalion was stopped 
in what Drysdale had called Hell 
Fire Valley by what seemed to be a 
solitary Chinese machine gun firing 
from the left. An Army tank solved 

that problem. Another half-mile 
down the road a blown bridge 
halted the column. The engineers 
did their job, the march resumed, 
but then there was another blown 
bridge. At dawn on Thursday 
things got better. Air came over- 
head, and 2d Battalion, 7th 

Marines, had no more trouble as it 
marched the last few miles into 
Koto-ri. Through all of this 
Lockwood, sick with severe bron- 
chitis, had sat numbly in his jeep. 
Early that morning his executive 
officer, Major Sawyer, had been 
wounded in the leg by a mortar 

Coming out of Hagaru-ri, Col Litzenberg used LtCol Lockwood 's 2d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, reinforced with tanks, as his advance guard . Here a heavy machine gun 
squad rests by the side of the road while a M-26 Pershing medium tank trundles 
by. The M-26 mounted a powerful flat-trajectory 90mm gun. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5469 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5428 
Marching, encumbered with weapons, packs, and winter clothing, on the road 
from Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri was heavy work, even without Chinese interference. 
This unit of the 7th Marines, taking advantage of a halt, manages a quick nap. 
Most of the fighting was on the high ground on both sides of the MSR, but occa- 
sionally the Chinese reached the road. 

fragment and was out of action. 
Major James F. Lawrence, Jr., 32, 
University of North Carolina 1941, 
the battalion S-3, had become the 
de facto commander. 

Things were going even less 
well on the left flank and rear of the 
column. The Army provisional bat- 
talion, fragile to begin with, had 
fought itself out and was replaced 
by Harris' 3d Battalion, 7th 
Marines. By 2100 the Chinese had 
come down to within hand- 
grenade range of the trucks on the 
road. Harris deployed his George 
and Item Companies to push them 
back. Sometime before dawn, 
Lieutenant Colonel William Harris, 
son of Major General Field Harris, 
disappeared. He was last seen 
walking down the road with two 
rifles slung over his shoulder. A 
search for him found no body and 
it was presumed he had been 
taken prisoner. Major Warren 
Morris, the executive officer of the 
1st Battalion, took over command 
of the 3d Battalion and it reached 

Koto-ri at about 0700 on Thursday 

Chinese prisoners taken along 
the road from Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri 

were identified as being from the 
76th and 77th Divisions of 26th 

For Almond, most of Wednes- 
day, 6 December, was absorbed 
with a visit by General J. Lawton 
Collins, the Army chief of staff. 
Collins and Almond dropped in at 
the command posts of the Army's 
7th and 3d Infantry Divisions, but 
"weather precluded flying to Koto- 
ri" for a visit with Smith. Collins 
left at nightfall for Tokyo. The visit 
had gone well and Almond noted 
contentedly in his diary: "Gen. 
Collins seemed completely satis- 
fied with the operation of X Corps 
and apparently was much relieved 
in finding the situation well in 

\\ Koto-ri, 7 December 

First Lieutenant Leo R. Ryan, the 
adjutant of the 2d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, alarmed by Lieutenant 
Colonel Lockwood's apathy, 
pressed the battalion surgeon and 
assistant surgeon, Lieutenants (jg) 

The role of the rifle companies in the breakout from Hagaru-ri on 6 December 
was to take the high ground on both sides of the road. Much fought over "East 
Hill" dominated the exit from Hagaru-ri. It was never completely taken, but the 
Chinese were pushed back far enough to permit the relatively safe passage of the 

division trains of vehicles. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5465 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5466 
Soldiers, readily recognizable as such in their short parkas, reduced in combat effectives to a small provisional battal- 
march in single file on 6 December along the MSR south of ion commanded by LtCol Berry K. Anderson, USA, was 
Hagaru-ri. RCT-31, badly mauled east of the reservoir and attached to the 7th Marines for the breakout. 

Laverne F. Peiffer and Stanley I. 
Wolf, to examine him. Neither 
doctor was a psychiatrist, but they 
came to the conclusion that 
Lockwood was suffering from a 
neurosis that made him unfit for 
command. This was communicated 
to Colonel Litzenberg who con- 
firmed Major Lawrence as the act- 
ing commander. 

In mid-morning, Thursday, 7 
December, to ease the passage of 
the division train, both the 2d and 
3d Battalions, 7th Marines, were 
ordered to face about, move north 
again, and set up blocking posi- 
tions on both sides of the road 
between Koto-ri and Hill 1182. On 
the way the 2d Battalion picked 
up 22 Royal Marine survivors who 
had been laagered up in a Korean 
house ever since Task Force 

Drysdale had passed that way. A 
VMO-6 pilot had spotted them 
three days earlier by the letters "H- 
E-L-P" stamped in the snow and 
had dropped rations and medical 

Elsewhere on Thursday, 7 
December, X Corps and Eighth 
Army had received orders from 
GHQ Tokyo to plan to withdraw, in 
successive positions if necessary, 
to the Pusan area. Eighth Army 
was to hold on to the Inchon- 
Seoul area as long as possible. X 
Corps was to withdraw through 
Hungnam and eventually to pass to 
the command of Eighth Army. 

Almond visited Smith at Koto-ri 
and assured him that Soule's 3d 
Infantry Division would provide 
maximum protection from Chin- 
hung-ni on into Hamhung. Smith 

LtCol William F. Harris, commanding 
officer of the 3d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, and son of Ma] Gen Field 
Harris, disappeared on the march 
from Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri. He was last 
seen moving down the road with two 
rifles slung over his shoulder. His 
exact fate remains a mystery. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A45353 


National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC354254 
General J. Lawton Collins, the Army 
chief of staff, left, visited X Corps on 6 
December and warmly praised 
MajGen Almond, right, for his con- 
duct of the battle. Collins got to the 
command posts of the 3d and 7th 
Infantry Divisions, but bad weather 
kept him from seeing MajGen Smith 
and the command post of the 1st 
Marine Division at Koto-ri. 

was concerned over the coordina- 
tion of artillery fire by the 3d 
Division. Almond promised that it 
would be under Marine control. 
He spoke briefly with Puller and 
Litzenberg and noted that night in 
his diary, "Morale is high in the 
Marine Division." 

All elements of RCT-7 had 
closed into Koto-ri by 1700 on the 
evening of 7 December; but 
Division Train No. 1, which they 
were to have shepherded, did not 
get out of Hagaru-ri until 1600 on 
the 6th. A little more than a mile out 
of Hagaru-ri the Chinese came 
down on the column. They might 
have thought the train would be 
easy pickings; if so, they were 
wrong. They hit Major Francis 
"Fox" Parry's 3d Battalion, 11th 
Marines. The artillerymen, fighting 
as infantry, held them off. Another 

mile down the road and the 
process was repeated. This time 
the gunners got to use their how- 
itzers, firing at pointblank range, 
and happily, if optimistically, 
guessed that they had killed or 
wounded all but about 50 of the 
estimated 500 to 800 attackers. 

As the night wore on there was 
more fighting along the road. The 
division headquarters had a stiff 
scuffle sometime after midnight. 
The members of the division band 
were given the opportunity to 
demonstrate their skills as 
machine gunners. The Military 
Police Company was bringing out a 
bag of 160 able-bodied prisoners of 
war. The prisoners got caught 
between Chinese and American 
fires and most were killed. Night 
hecklers from David Wolfe's 
VMF(N)-513 helped and at dawn 
the omnipresent Corsairs from 
Frank Cole's VMF-312 came on 
station and resolved the situation. 
The column moved through the 
stark debris — there were still bod- 
ies lying about and many broken 
vehicles — of Hell Fire Valley and 
by 1000 on 7 December Division 
Train No. 1, after an all-night 
march, was in Koto-ri. 

Eleven miles away in Hagaru, 
Division Train No. 2, unable to 
move onto the road until Division 
Train No. 1 had cleared, did not 
get started until well after dark on 
6 December. At midnight, the head 
of the train was still barely out of 
the town. Lieutenant Colonel 
Milne, the train commander, asked 
for infantry help. Taplett's 3d 
Battalion, 5th Marines, was 
detailed to the job. Taplett moved 
forward with two companies. 
Nothing much happened until 
dawn on 7 December when the 
column was able to continue on 
under air cover. 

In Hagaru-ri engineers and ord- 
nance men were busy blowing up 
everything that could be blown up 

and burning the rest. Stevens' 1st 
Battalion, 5th Marines; Ridge's 3d 
Battalion, 1st Marines; and 
Drysdale's 41 Commando stood 
poised to leave but could not get 
out of town until Thursday morn- 
ing, 7 December, after some fight- 
ing in Hagaru-ri itself, because of 
the clogged roads. Roise's 2d 
Battalion, 5th Marines, came off 
East Hill and fell in behind them as 
rear guard at about 1000. The 
Chinese once again seemed more 
interested in looting what was left 
of the town than in further fighting. 
After some light interference on 
the road, all elements of RCT-5 
were safely tucked into the Koto-ri 
perimeter before midnight on the 

A number of units — including 
Roise's 2d Battalion, 5th Marines; 
Ridge's 3d Battalion, 1st Marines; 
and Drake's 31st Tank Company — 
assert that they provided the rear 
point coming out of Hagaru-ri. 
Able Company engineers, however, 
busy with last-minute demolitions in 
the already burning town, probably 
have the best claim. In round fig- 
ures, 10,000 Marines and soldiers, 
shepherding 1,000 vehicles, had 
marched 11 miles in 38 hours. 
Marine losses were 103 dead, 7 
missing, and 506 wounded. 

Marine engineers, arguably the 
greatest heroes of the campaign, 
had widened and improved the 
airstrip at Koto-ri so that it could 
handle World War II TBMs, no 
longer used as torpedo bombers, 
but now stripped-down utility air- 
craft that could bring in a few pas- 
sengers — as many as nine — and 
lift out a corresponding number of 
wounded. The TBMs, plus the 
light aircraft and helicopters from 
VMO-6, took out about 200 casual- 
ties on 7 December and 225 more 
on the 8th. Most of the TBMs were 
piloted, not by squadron pilots, 
but by otherwise desk-bound avia- 
tors on the wing and group staffs. 


Chinese prisoners within the Hagaru-ri perimeter were 
herded into a stockade guarded by a detachment ofCapt John 
H, Griffin's Military Police Company. When the Marines 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5457 
evacuated the town they left the wounded prisoners of war 
behind in a compound, telling them that their comrades 
would soon be down from the hills to help them. 

March South from koto-ri 

There would be no rest at Koto- 
ri. By somebody's count 14,229 
men had piled into Koto-ri, includ- 
ing the long-waited Army's 2d 
Battalion, 31st Infantry, which had 
arrived far too late to go forward to 
join its regiment, the shredded 
RCT-31, east of the reservoir. 
Reidy's battalion was to continue as 
part of Puller's RCT-1 in the break 

Anderson's two-battalion collec- 
tion of soldiers, quite separate 
from Reidy's battalion, had suf- 
fered additional casualties — both 
battle and from the cold — coming 
in from Hagaru-ri. Major Witte, 
one of the battalion commanders, 
was among the wounded. 
Anderson reorganized his shrinking 
command into two companies: a 
31st Company under Captain 
George A. Rasula, a canny Finnish- 
American from Minnesota who 
knew what cold weather was all 
about, and a 32d Company under 
Captain Robert J. Kitz, who had 

been a company commander in 
Reilly's 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, 
in Task Force Faith. Anderson then 
stepped aside from immediate 
command, giving the battalion to 
Major Robert E. Jones who had 
been Don Faith's S-l and adjutant. 

As a paratrooper in World War II, 
Jones had jumped with the 101st 
Airborne Division near Eindhoven, 
Holland. Now, coming out of 
Koto-ri, his improvised battalion 
remained part of Litzenberg's RCT- 

The Marines left Hagaru-ri in flames, wanting to leave no shelter for the Chinese. 

Veterans still argue as to which unit was the last to leave the town. Marines from 

Company A, 1st Engineer Battalion, charged with last minute demolitions, 

probably have the best claim to this honor. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5458 


Photo by David Douglas Duncan 
As the Marines moved south from Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri they had to pass through 
"Hell Fire Valley, " site of Task Force Drysdale's heaviest losses. The Chinese had 
made no attempt to salvage the abandoned vehicles, but the Marines did and 
learned that some needed nothing more than a push to start them. 

The march south was to be 
resumed at first light on Friday, 8 
December. It would be a "skin- 
the-cat" maneuver with the rifle 
companies leap-frogging along the 
high ground on each side of the 
road while the heavily laden vehi- 
cles of the division trains made 
their way toward Funchilin Pass 
and then down the pass to 
Chinhung-ni. At the foot of the 

pass the Marines could expect to 
find elements of the Army's 3d 
Infantry Division manning the 
outer defenses of the Hamhung- 
Hungnam area. But the road was 
not yet open. Smith had been 
warned, as early as 4 December, 
that the Chinese had blown a crit- 
ical bridge halfway down the pass. 
Here water came out from the 
Changjin Reservoir through a tunnel 

into four giant pipes called "pen- 
stocks." The bridge had crossed 
over the penstocks at a point 
where the road clung to an almost 
sheer cliff. If the division was to get 
out its tanks, artillery, and vehicles 
the 24-foot gap would somehow 
have to be bridged. 

Lieutenant Colonel Partridge, 
the division engineer, had made 
an aerial reconnaissance on 6 
December and determined that the 
gap could be spanned by four sec- 
tions of an M-2 steel "Treadway" 
bridge. He had no such bridge 
sections, but fortuitously there was 
a detachment of the Treadway 
Bridge Company from the Army's 
58th Engineer Battalion at Koto-ri 
with two Brockway trucks that 
could carry the bridge sections if 
they could be air-delivered. A sec- 
tion was test-dropped at Yonpo by 
an Air Force C-119 and got 
smashed up in the process. Not 
discouraged, Partridge pressed for 
an airdrop of eight sections — to 
give himself a 100 percent insur- 
ance factor that at least four sections 
would land in useable condition. 
The 2,500-pound bridge sections 
began their parachute drop at 
0930 on 7 December. One fell into 
the hands of the Chinese. Another 
was banged up beyond use. But 
six sections landed intact. 
Plywood center sections for 
wheeled traffic were also dropped. 
Next, the Brockway trucks would 
have to deliver the sections to the 
bridge site three-and-a-half miles 
away, a location likely to be 
defended fiercely by the Chinese. 

Partridge met with Litzenberg 
and it was decided that the 
Brockway trucks would move at 
the front of the 7th Marines' regi- 
mental train after RCT-7 jumped- 
off at 0800 on 8 December. The 
bridge site was dominated by Hill 
1081 so Lieutenant Colonel 
Schmuck's 1st Battalion, 1st 
Marines, at Chinhung-ni was 


Photo by Sgt William R. Keating, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5461 

One of the vehicles salvaged by the Marines in "Hell Fire Valley" was a bullet-rid- 
den Army ambulance. Battered, but still in running condition, the Marines 
used it to evacuate casualties incurred along the line of march. Once safely in 
Masan, a large number of Army vehicles were returned to the Army. 

ordered to advance overland three 
miles to the north to take the hill. 
All of this required exquisite timing. 

First objective for Litzenberg's 
7th Marines coming out of Koto-ri 
was the high ground on the right of 
the road for a distance of about a 
mile-and-a-half. Murray's 5th 
Marines would then pass through 
the 7th Marines and take and hold 
the high ground for the next mile. 
Puller's 1st Marines was to stay in 
Koto-ri until the division and regi- 
mental trains had cleared and then 
was to relieve the 5th and 7th 
Marines on their high ground posi- 
tions so the trains could pass on to 
Funchilin Pass. The 5th and 7th 
Marines, relieved by the 1st, would 
then move on down the pass 
toward Hamhung. The 11th 
Marines artillery would displace 
from battery firing position to bat- 
tery firing position but for much of 
the time would be limbered up 
and on the road. Heavy reliance 
for fire support would be placed on 

the Corsairs and organic mortars. 
Tanks would follow at the end of 
the vehicular column so there 
would be no chance of a crippled 

tank blocking the road. 

Task Force Dog, under 
Brigadier General Mead and con- 
sisting of the 3d Battalion, 7th 
Infantry, liberally reinforced with 
tanks and artillery, had started 
north on 7 December, passed 
through Su-dong, and by late 
afternoon had reached Chinhung- 
ni. Schmuck's 1st Battalion, 1st 
Marines, after being relieved by 
Task Force Dog, moved into an 
assembly area several miles north of 

The jump-offs from both Koto-ri 
and Chinhung-ni on the morning of 
8 December were made in a 
swirling snowstorm. Schmuck's 
Marines started the six-mile march 
up the MSR to the line of departure 
at 0200. His plan was for Captain 
Robert P. Wray's Company C to 
take Hill 891, the southwestern 
nose of Hill 1081, and hold it 
while his other two rifle compa- 
nies passed through and contin- 
ued the attack. Captain Barrow's 
Company A was to attack east of 
the road and on up to the summit 
of Hill 1081. Captain Noren's 

Koto-ri as it looked on 8 December, the day that the march to the south contin- 
ued. Virtually all the combat strength of the 1st Marine Division, plus some 
Army troops, had concentrated therefor the breakout. The next critical terrain 
feature would be Funchilin Pass where a blown bridge threatened to halt the 
march. Its repair posed a problem for Marine engineers. 

Photo by Sgt William R. Keating, Department of Defense (USMC) A5354 


Photo by Sgt William R. Keating, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5361 

Snow-dusted M-4A3 Sherman tanks of LtCol Harry T. pointing performance with Task Force Drysdale. There 

Milne's 1st Tank Battalion await the word at Koto-ri to would he further problems with the tanks in Funchilin Pass, 
move out to the south. The tanks had turned in a disap- 

Immediately outside of Koto-ri, two Chinese soldiers willingly Hagaru-ri, from Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri, and from Koto-ri to 

surrender to members of a Marine rifle company early on 9 Chinhung-ni, showed a marked improvement in Marine 

December. Each leg of the withdrawal, from Yudam-ni to tactics to deal with the situation. 

Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5388 


Photo by SSgt Ed Barnum, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A130504 
Aerial view taken from one of VMO-6's light observation the precarious nature of the road occupying a thin shelf cut 
aircraft, flown by IstLt John D. Cotton, shows the power into the precipitous slope, 
station, the pipes or "penstocks" that carried off the water, and 

Company B would be on the left 
flank, moving along the slope 
between Barrow and the road. 

Wray had his objective by 
dawn. On it Schmuck built up a 
base of fire with his 81mm mortars 
and an attached platoon of 4.2- 
inch mortars — the effective, but 
road-bound "four-deuces." Also 
effective, but tied to the road, 
were five Army self-propelled anti- 
aircraft guns — quad .50-calibers 
and duel 40mms — attached from 
Company B, 50th Antiaircraft 
Artillery (Automatic Weapons) 

Things went like clockwork. 
Schmuck's main attack jumped off 
at 1000. Barrow clambered up the 
hogback ridge that led to the sum- 
mit of Hill 1081; Noren advanced 

A mixed group of Marines and soldiers struggle up an ice-covered slope some- 
where south ofKoto-ri. The weather and the terrain were at least as much of an 
enemy as the Chinese. Marines, disdainful of the Army's performance east of the 
reservoir, learned in the march -out from Hagaru-ri that soldiers, properly led, 
were not much different from themselves. 

Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5389 


Sketch by Sgt Ralph Schofield, USMCR 

Going downhill was easier for the most part than going up, but wherever it was 
the march was single file of Marines, or at best a double file. Even stripped down 
to essentials, the average Marine carried 35 to 40 pounds of weapons, ammu- 
nition, rations, and sleeping bag. Anything more, such as toilet articles, shelter 
half or poncho, was a luxury. 

along the wooded western slope 
of the hill. Noren met scattered 
resistance, was stopped momen- 
tarily by two enemy machine 
guns, which he then took out with 

a tidy schoolbook solution — 
engaging the enemy with his own 
machine guns and 60mm mortars 
while a platoon worked around in 
a right hook. He then ran into a 

bunker complex, took it after a 
savage fight, and found a kettle of 
rice cooking in the largest bunker. 
Schmuck moved his headquarters 
forward and set up his command 
post in the bunker only to find it 
louse-ridden. The day cost Noren 
three killed and six wounded. 

Barrow had gone up the ridge 
against no enemy whatsoever, 
impeded only by the icy ridgeline, 
so narrow that he had to march in 
a dangerous single file. Through a 
break in the snowstorm, Barrow 
got a glimpse of a strongly 
bunkered Chinese position on a 
knob between his company and 
the crest of the hill. He elected to 
do a double envelopment, sending 
his 2d Platoon around to the left 
and his 1st Platoon around to the 
right. He went himself with the 3d 
Platoon up the center in a frontal 
attack. It all came together in a 
smashing assault. Barrow's 

Fresh snow fell during the march from Koto-ri to the top of themselves inviting targets for Chinese mortar and machine 
Funchilin Pass. When the column on the road halted, as it gun fire. March discipline had to be enforced by tough cor- 
frequently did, the Marines tended to bunch up, making porals and sergeants more than by orders from the top. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5358 



Funchilin Pass 
8-10 December 1950 

yhinhu ng-Ni v< g 


Marines counted more than 60 
Chinese dead. They themselves 
lost 10 killed, 11 wounded. The 
snow ended and the night was 
clear. At midnight a Chinese platoon 
bravely but foolishly tried to evict 
Barrow's Marines and lost 18 
killed. To Barrow's left, all was 
quiet in front of Noren's position. 
To their north, Litzenberg's 7th 

Marines had come out of Koto-ri on 
schedule on the morning of 8 
December. Counting the Army 
provisional battalion he had four 
battalions. Two were to clear each 
side of the road. One was to 
advance along the MSR, to be fol- 
lowed by the regimental train and 
the reserve battalion. Major Morris 
had been assigned to take Hill 

1328 on the right of the road with 
his 3d Battalion. Going was slow. 
By mid-morning Litzenberg grew 
impatient and urged him to commit 
his reserve company. Morris 
snapped back: "All three compa- 
nies are up there — 50 men from 
George Company, 50 men from 
How, 30 men from Item. That's it." 
Shortly after noon, Litzenberg 
committed his regimental reserve, 
Lawrence's 2d Battalion, to come to 
the assistance of Morris. By night- 
fall the two battalions had joined 
but not much more was accom- 

Left of the road, the provisional 
Army battalion, under Major Jones, 
had jumped off on time and, with 
the help of two Marine tanks, had 
moved along against light resis- 
tance. In two jumps Jones reached 
Hill 1457 where his soldiers dug in 
for the night. Their position was 
raked by Chinese automatic fire, 
and in a brief nasty action 12 
enemy were killed at a cost of one 
soldier killed, four wounded. 

Litzenberg's executive officer, 
Lieutenant Colonel Frederick 
Dowsett, had been shot through 
the ankle the day before. Litz- 
enberg moved Raymond Davis up 
to executive officer to replace him 
and gave the 1st Battalion, still his 
strongest battalion, to Major 
Sawyer, whose wound had proved 
superficial. Sawyer's initial mission 
was to move a mile down the road 
and wait for the 3d Battalion to 
come up on his right flank. The 1st 
Battalion now had it own fight. 

Sawyer's lead platoon came 
under fire from Hill 1304. Baker 
Company continued to move 
against the high ground just left of 
the road while Able and Charlie 
Companies moved more deeply to 
the right against the hill. Baker 
Company was caught in a cross- 
fire; the company commander, 
Lieutenant Kurcaba, was killed, 
two of his platoon leaders were 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5357 
A section of two 81mm mortars set up in the snow to give fire support for a rifle 
company in the attack. These high-angle medium mortars, with a shell almost 
as lethal as a 105mm howitzer round, were considered to be the infantry bat- 
talion commander's own "artillery. " Mortars were particularly effective in the 
defense of a perimeter. 

wounded. First Lieutenant William 
W. "Woody" Taylor took over com- 
mand of the company and had his 
objective by nightfall. Able and 
Charlie Companies meanwhile had 
taken Hill 1304 without much 
trouble. Sawyer divided his battal- 
ion into two perimeters for the 
night. Vehicular movement along 
the MSR was halted. 

It had been nearly noon on 8 
December before Murray's 5th 
Marines, following behind the 7th 
Marines, moved out of Koto-ri. 
Stevens' 1st Battalion was in the 
lead. Stevens sent out his Baker 
and Charlie Companies to take Hill 
1457. Charlie Company joined up 
unexpectedly with the Army's pro- 
visional battalion and the soldiers 
and Marines had the Chinese off the 
high ground by mid-afternoon. 
Baker and Charlie Companies, 
combined with the Army troops, 
formed a perimeter for the night. 
Able Company had its own 
perimeter closer to the MSR. 
Murray moved 41 Commando, in 
reserve, up behind the 1st 

Meanwhile, the 2d and 3d 

Battalions of Puller's 1st Marines 
held Koto-ri itself. For the defend- 
ers the problem was not the scat- 
tered small arms fire of the 
Chinese, but the flood of civilian 
refugees coming down the road 
from the north. They could not be 
admitted into the perimeter 
because of the probability that the 
Chinese had infiltrated them. 

During the bitterly cold night, two 
babies were born with the help of 
Navy doctors and corpsmen. In all 
their misery these thousands of 
civilians had to wait outside the 
lines until Koto-ri was vacated. 
They then followed behind the 
Marines, as best they could, until 
the presumed safety of Hamhung- 
Hungnam might be reached. 

During the day Smith, always 
conscious of his dead, attended a 
funeral at Koto-ri. What had been 
an artillery command post, 
scraped more deeply into the 
frozen ground by a bulldozer, 
became a mass grave. A total of 
117 bodies, mostly Marines but 
some soldiers and Royal Marines, 
were lowered into the hole. A 
Protestant and a Catholic chaplain 
officiated. The bulldozer covered 
the bodies with a mound of dirt. 

Sergeant Robert Gault, head of 
the Graves Registration Section of 
the 7th Marines, remembered the 
funeral this way: 

We had a chaplain of each 
faith, and the fellows had 
made a big hole and laid the 
fellows out in rows the best 

Task Force Dog included these self-propelled 155mm howitzers shown in firing 
position covering Funchilin Pass on 10 December near Chinhung-ni. Marine 
155mm howitzers at this lime were still tractor-drawn and some were lost com- 
ing out of Yudam-ni. At a greater distance an Army tank can be glimpsed. 

Photo by TSgt James W. Helms, Jr., Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A156320 



Photo by Cpl James Lyle, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC354456 
A squad-sized Army patrol, led by Sgt Grant J. Miller, from the 3d Infantry 
Division 's Task Force Dog, moves up from Chinhung-ni into Funchilin Pass on 
9 December. The tank at the side of the road appears to be a Soviet-built T-34 
knocked out a month earlier by the 7th Marines. 

we could and put ponchos 
over them. As soon as each 
chaplain had said his little bit 
for the fellows, we would 
cover them up and close 
them in. Everyone was 
given — I think under the cir- 
cumstances — a very fine bur- 
ial. It wasn't like the one back 
at Inchon and Hungnam. It 
wasn't like the one where we 
had crosses for the boys 
painted white and all the pre- 
liminaries: flowers that we 
could get for them — we'd go 
out and pick them. It wasn't 
like that, no. It was one 
where we were just out in a 
field, but it was one with 
more true heart. 

There was more snow during 
the night, but Saturday, 9 
December, dawned bright, clear, 
and cold. South of Funchilin Pass, 
Noren moved his Baker Company 
to the next high ground to his 
front and Barrow had his Able 
Company test-fire their weapons 
before beginning the assault of 
Hill 1081. Barrow then attacked in 
a column of platoons behind a 
thunderous preparation by close 
air, artillery, and mortars. Even so 

his lead platoon, under First 
Lieutenant William A. McClelland, 
was hard hit as it moved forward by 
rushes, stopping about 200 yards 
from the crest. Under cover of air 
strikes by four Corsairs and his 
own 60mm mortars, Barrow 
moved his 2d and 3d Platoons for- 
ward and by mid-afternoon his 
Marines had the hill. The two-day 
battle cost Barrow almost exactly 
half his company. He had started up 
the hill with 223 Marines; he was 
now down to 111 effectives. But 
530 enemy dead were counted 
and the Marines held the high 
ground commanding Funchilin 

On the MSR that Saturday, mov- 
ing south from Koto-ri, the 7th 
Marines resumed its attack. The 
rest of Hill 1304 was taken. 
Captain John Morris with his 
Company C and a platoon from 
Company B moved down the road 
and secured the bridge site. The 
rest of Company B, following 
behind, overran an enemy posi- 
tion garrisoned by 50 Chinese so 
frozen by the cold that they sur- 
rendered without resistance. 

The old war horse, General 
Shepherd, arrived from Hawaii the 
day before on what was his fifth trip 

to Korea, this time as "Represen- 
tative of Commander Naval Force, 
Far East, on matters relating to the 
Marine Corps and for consultation 
and advice in connection with the 
contemplated amphibious opera- 
tions now being planned." 
Shepherd may have thought he 
had more authority than he really 
had. In his 1967 oral history he 

When reports came back 
that the cold weather had set 
in and they weren't able to 
make the Yalu River and 
things began falling apart, 
Admiral Radford sent me to 
Korea — I think [the orders] 
came from the Chief of Naval 
Operations on the recom- 
mendation of Admiral Joy — 
that [I] was to take charge of 
the evacuation of the Marines 
from Hungnam. 

More accurately, the Chief of 
Naval Operations, Admiral Forrest 
P. Sherman, had probably been 
prompted by back-channel mes- 
sages to Admiral Radford to send 
Shepherd to the Far East "for the 
purpose of advising and assisting 
Commander Naval Forces, Far East 
[Admiral Joy], with particular 
emphasis on Marine Corps mat- 

Shepherd did recognize that 
there could be a conflict of com- 
mand because of Almond's actual 
command of X Corps. On arriving 
in Tokyo on 6 December he met 
with General MacArthur and noted 
"General MacArthur was unquali- 
fied in his admiration and praise 
for the effective contribution 
which Marines had made through- 
out the whole of the Korea fighting. 
His general demeanor [however] 
was not one of optimism." 

After more conferences and 
meetings in Tokyo, Shepherd left on 
8 December for Hungnam and on 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5370 
Litzenberg's 7th Marines led the way out of Koto-ri at dawn on 8 December. 
Murray 's 5th Marines followed the 7th Marines and in turn was followed by two 
battalions of Puller's 1st Marines. Infantry units, moving from hilltop to hilltop 
on both sides of the road covered the movement of the division trains. Some called 
the maneuver "hop-scotch, " others called it "skinning-the-cat . " 

arrival went immediately to the 
Mount McKinley. Here on the next 
day he attended a meeting on out- 
loading and naval support also 
attended by Admirals Joy, Struble, 
and Doyle, and General Harris. A 
press conference followed. 
Shepherd praised the operations 
of the X Corps and said that he 

was there to assist General 
Almond. He was anxious to get up 
to the reservoir to see things for 
himself. He made the trip in a 
TBM, landing at Koto-ri after cir- 
cling Hagaru-ri. He then met with 
Smith for an hour or more. Smith 
told him that all casualties would be 
out by the end of the day. 

As the march went on, cold-benumbed Chinese soldiers surrendered in increas- 
ing numbers. This group, probably the remnants of a platoon or perhaps a com- 
pany, surrendered to Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, south of Koto-ri on 
9 December. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5377 

Shepherd announced that he 
intended to march out with the 
division. Smith dug in his heels 
and said absolutely not. 

Shepherd returned to the 
airstrip. A number of war corre- 
spondents, among them "Maggie" 
Higgins, Keyes Beach, and the 
photographer David Douglas 
Duncan, had wangled their way to 
Koto-ri. While Shepherd's plane 
was warming up, Colonel Puller 
arrived leading Higgins by the 
hand. Puller said: "General Smith 
says take this woman out of his 
hair and see that she goes out on 
your plane." Shepherd turned to 
Higgins, whom he had met at 
Inchon, saying, "Maggie, it's too 
bad. I wanted to march down 
too." The plane completed its 
loading of wounded and taxied to 
the end of the strip. It was dusk and 
as the plane took off Shepherd 
could see machine gun tracer bul- 
lets reaching up at the underside of 

Two Chinese, anxious to surrender, 
get a quick pat-down search for 
weapons by members of Company C, 
7th Marines, but there was no fight 
left in them. Once given a cigarette 
and perhaps a chocolate bar by their 
captors, they would follow along 
uncomplainingly into eventual cap- 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5378 


Photo by Cpl Peter W. McDonald, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5379 
Fz'rs? step in evacuation of casualties, alive or dead, during the march-out was 
to get them down to the road by stretcher. Here four Marines, without helmets or 
packs, carry a stretcher down from the high ground somewhere south of Koto-ri 
on 9 December. Fresh snow had fallen the previous night. 

the plane. Leaning over to 
Higgins, the irrepressible Shep- 
herd said to her, "If we get hit, we 
will die in each other's arms." 

From Koto-ri to Chinhung-ni 

The column of division vehi- 
cles, protected on both sides by 
the Marine infantry in the hills, 
crawled along the road south of 
Koto-ri at a snail's pace and with 
frequent stops. The Marines, who 
watched the crawling column 
from their perches in the hills, 
wondered profanely why the vehi- 
cles had to be piled high with tent 
frames, wooden doors, and other 
luxuries of life. 

Partridge had held back the 
Army's Brockway trucks, with 
their precious cargo of bridge sec- 
tions, in Koto-ri until first light on 
9 December when he considered 
the MSR secure enough for him to 
move them forward. He then 
joined Sawyer's 1st Battalion at the 
head of the column. Everything 
worked at the bridge site like a 
practiced jigsaw puzzle. Army and 
Marine engineers rebuilt the abut- 
ments with sandbags and timbers. 

A Brockway truck laid the steel 
treadways and plywood deck pan- 
els. At noon, Almond flew over- 
head in his "Blue Goose" to see 
for himself that things were going 

well. Installation was done in 
three hours and at 1530 Partridge 
drove his jeep back to the top of the 
pass to tell Lieutenant Colonel 
Banks that he could bring Division 
Train No. 1 down the defile. The 
first vehicles began to cross the 
bridge at about 1800. Sawyer's 
Marines kept the enemy at a dis- 
tance and captured 60 prisoners in 
the process. All night long vehicles 
passed over the bridge. 

At 0245 on Sunday morning, 10 
December, the head of the column 
reached Chinhung-ni. Colonel 
Snedeker, the division's deputy 
chief of staff, had positioned him- 
self there to direct the further 
movement of the vehicle serials. 
The 7th Marines followed Division 
Train No. 1 down the pass. Up on 
the plateau Ridge's 3d Battalion, 
1st Marines, had come out of 
Koto-ri and relieved the 3d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, on Hill 
1328 where it had a fight with 

Frozen corpses are unloaded from a truck at Koto-ri where they will be buried 
in a mass grave. A 1 55mm howitzer can be seen in the background. The dead, 
117 of them, mostly U.S. Marines hut some soldiers and Royal Marines, were 
interred in a hole originally bull-dozed into the ground to serve as an artillery 
fire direction center. 

Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USiVIC) 127-N-A5366 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A402841 
LtGen Shepherd, right, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, 
arrived on 8 December on his fifth trip to Korea. Although not in the operational 
chain-of -command, he had arrived to oversee the evacuation of the Marines. RAdm 
Doyle, left, and MajGen Harris, center, greet Shepherd. All three look glum. 

about 350 resurgent Chinese. At 
1030, General Smith closed his 
command post at Koto-ri and flew 
to his rear command post at 

Puller brought out the remainder 
of RCT-1 from Koto-ri on the after- 
noon of the 10th. Milne's tanks, 
including the tank company from 
the 31st Infantry, followed behind 
the elements of RCT-1 on the road. 
Ridge's 3d Battalion was already 
deployed on the high ground on 
both sides of the MSR south of 
Koto-ri. The plan was for Sutter's 2d 
Battalion to relieve Stevens' 1st 
Battalion, 5th Marines, on Hill 

As the last Americans left Koto- 
ri, the Army's 92d Field Artillery, fir- 
ing from Chinhung-ni, shelled the 
town with its long-range 155mm 
guns. There was confusion at the 
tail of the column as Korean 
refugees pressed close. The 
tankers fired warning shots to 
make them stay back. Panic devel- 
oped as the rumor spread that the 
Marines were shooting the re- 

fugees. The tanks passed on down 
the road, protected on both sides at 
first by Ridge's Marines in the hills. 
But Sutter, having begun his climb 
up Hill 1457 and finding it a long 
way off and with no enemy in 
sight, asked Puller's permission, 
which he received, to return to the 

Ridge pulled his companies off 
Hill 1304 and the high ground on 
the opposite side of the MSR at 
about 2100. Ridge's battalion was 
the last major unit to descend the 
pass, following behind Jones' pro- 
visional battalion of soldiers and 
the detachment of the 185th 
Engineers. Harry Milne's tanks 
were behind Ridge with no 
infantry protection except the 
lightweight division Reconnais- 
sance Company mounted in jeeps. 
It was now about midnight. 

By then both division trains, all 
of RCT-7, and most of the 11th 
Marines had reached Chinhung-ni. 
The 5th Marines followed the 7th 
Marines. Beyond Chinhung-ni, 
guerrillas were reported to be 

active in the vicinity of Sudong, 
but the division trains and both 
the 5th and 7th Marines passed 
through without interference. 
Some time after midnight when 
the vehicles of RCT-1 reached the 
town sudden swarms of Chinese 
came out of the houses of the vil- 
lage with burp guns and grenades. 
Truck drivers and casuals, both 
Army and Marine, fought a wild, 
shapeless action. Lieutenant Colo- 
nel John U. D. Page, an Army 
artillery officer, took charge, was 
killed, and received a posthumous 
Medal of Honor. Lieutenant 
Colonel Waldon C. Winston, an 
Army motor transport officer, took 
his place. It was dawn before the 
place was cleaned up. RCT-1 lost 
nine trucks and a personnel carri- 
er; 8 men killed and 21 wounded. 

Meanwhile, Milne's tanks, some 
40 of them, descending the nar- 
row, icy-slick road of Funchilin 
Pass had run into trouble. About a 
mile short of the Treadway bridge 
the brakes of the ninth tank from 
the end of the column froze up. 
The tanks to its front clanked on, 
but the immobile ninth tank 
blocked the eight tanks to the rear. 
Close behind came the refugees. 
Left guarding the nine tanks was 
First Lieutenant Ernest C. Hargett's 
28-man reconnaissance platoon. 
Five Chinese soldiers emerged 
from the mass of refugees and 
one, in English, called upon 
Hargett to surrender. Hargett, cov- 
ered by a BAR-man, approached 
the five Chinese cautiously. The 
English-speaking one stepped 
aside and the four others pro- 
duced burp guns and grenades. A 
grenade wounded Hargett. His 
BAR-man, Corporal George A. J. 
Amyotte, cut the five Chinese 
down, but more Chinese material- 
ized on the road and the steep 
slope of the hill. Hargett backed 
away with his platoon. The last 
tank in the column was lost to the 


Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5376 
The Chinese had blown a critical bridge halfway down Funchilin Pass where water 
flowed downward from Changjin Reservoir and passed through four giant pipes 
called "penstocks. "As early as 4 December, MajGen Smith knew that this 24-foot 
gap would have to be bridged if his vehicles were to reach Hungnam. 

Chinese. Meanwhile, the crew of 
the tank that blocked the road had 
succeeded in freeing the frozen 
brakes and was ready to proceed. 
But the crews of the remaining 
seven tanks had departed, leaving 
the hatches of their tanks open. A 
member of Hargett's platoon, who 
had never driven a tank, managed 
to bring out one tank. The night's 
adventure cost Hargett two men 
killed and 12 wounded. 

Engineers were waiting at the 
Treadway bridge, ready to blow it 
up. They thought the two tanks 
and Hargett's platoon were the last 
to come by. They blew the bridge, 
but one Marine had been left 
behind. Private First Class Robert D. 
DeMott from Hargett's platoon had 
been blown off the road by a 
Chinese explosive charge. Regain- 
ing consciousness, he got back on 
the road and joined the refugees. 

Marines from Litzenberg's regiment, along with some 
attached soldiers, on 9 December reached the blown bridge 
in Funchilin Pass, which, unless replaced, would stop any 

further southward movement of wheeled or tracked vehicles. 
Plans were already afoot to bridge the gap with a Treadway 
bridge to be airdropped in sections at Koto-ri. 
Photo by Sgt Frank C Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5375 


Photo by Sgt William R. Keating, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5408 

By evening on 9 December the Treadway bridge was in tance was limited to small-scale firefights and ambushes. The 

place and men and vehicles could move unimpeded down most sizable resistance would come near Sudong. 
theMSR through Funchilin Pass. From here on enemy resis- 

The wind that blew from Manchuria and beyond, "down over wind, " said noted photographer David Douglas Duncan, "was 

the Yalu and the mountains all around. . . down into the like nothing ever known by the trapped Marines, yet they had 

gorges with their frozen streams amd naked rocks. . . down to march through it. " 

along the ice-capped road — now shrieking and wild — that Photo by David Douglas Duncan 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5372 

Marines march along a particularly precipitous portion of Marines from Koto-ri and the simultaneous advance of the 

the road winding down through Funchilin Pass on 9 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, from Chinhung-ni to take the high 

December. The day before had seen the launching of an ground controlling the pass, 
exquisitely timed maneuver — the exit of the 5th and 7th 

He heard the detonation that blew 
the bridge, but figured that he 
could make his way on foot 
through the gatehouse above the 
penstocks. This he did as did 
many of the following refugees. 

Warm Welcome ai Hungiuun 

Donald Schmuck, from his posi- 
tion on Hill 1081, watched the 
lights of the tanks descending the 
pass and at 0300 gave orders for 
Barrow's Company A to begin its 
withdrawal. At 1300 on 11 
December the last units of the 
division passed through Chin- 
hung-ni. By 1730 they had gone 
through Majon-dong and by 2100 
most had reached their Hamhung- 
Hungnam assembly areas. They 
found a tent camp waiting for 
them. Lieutenant Colonel Erwin F. 
Wann, Jr.'s 1st Amphibian Tractor 

Coming down Funchilin Pass on 10 December, the Marine column was intermixed 
with many Korean refugees fleeing the Chinese. Numbers were such as to inter- 
fere with military traffic. Behind them, Yudam-ni, Hagaru-ri, and Koto-ri were 
left as deserted ghost towns. 

Photo by Sgt William R. Keating, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5407 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5901 

LtCol John H. Partridge, whose engineers performed miracles, particularly in scrap- 
ing out the airstrip at Hagaru-ri and installing the airdropped Treadway bridge 
in Funchilin Pass, received a second Bronze Star from MajGen Smith atMasan 
in early January 1951 . 

Battalion had done much of the 
preparation for their arrival. Chow 
lines were open for the continu- 
ous serving of hot meals. Wann, 31 
and Naval Academy 1940, had 
been an amphibian tractor officer at 
Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo 
Jima. The weather seemed almost 
balmy after the unrelieved sub- 
zero temperatures of the plateau. 
Milne's tanks continued on to the 
LST staging area, arriving just 
before midnight. From 8 through 1 1 
December, the division had lost 75 
men dead, 16 missing, and 256 
wounded, for a total of 347 casu- 

As late as Saturday, 9 
December, General Smith believed 
that the 1st Marine Division, once 
concentrated, would be given a 
defensive sector to the south and 
southwest of Hungnam. A day ear- 
lier his deputy chief of staff, 
Colonel Snedeker, who was run- 
ning his rear headquarters, issued 
tentative orders for Puller's RCT-1 to 

organize defensively at Chigyong, 
with Murray's RCT-5 and 
Litzenberg's RCT-7 preparing to 
defend Yonpo airfield. 

But on that Saturday, Almond 
received his formal orders from 
MacArthur to redeploy X Corps to 
South Korea and Smith learned 
that his division would be loading 
out immediately on arrival. At this 
point Almond regarded the 1st 
Marine Division as only marginally 
combat effective. He considered 
the 7th Infantry Division, except 
for its loss of almost a complete 
regimental combat team, to be in 
better condition. In best condition, 
in his opinion, was the 3d Infantry 
Division, which he visited almost 

Almond therefore decided that 
once the 1st Marine Division 
passed through the Hamhung- 
Hungnam perimeter defense it 
would be relieved from active 
combat and evacuated. Second 
priority for evacuation would be 

given the 7th Infantry Division. 
Last out would be the 3d Infantry 

The Hungnam-Hamhung defen- 
sive perimeter, as neatly drawn on 
the situation maps in Almond's 
headquarters, consisted of a main 
line of resistance (MLR) about 20 
miles long arcing in a semicircle 
from north of Hungnam around to 
include Yonpo. In front of the MLR 
was a lightly held outpost line of 
resistance. The northernmost sector, 
beginning at the coastline, was 
given to Major General Kim Pak 
IPs ROK I Corps, which, having 
arrived uneventfully from Songjin, 
began moving into line on 8 
December. The lift-off from 
Songjin by LSTs, merchant ships, 
and the attack transport USS Noble 
(APA 218) had been completed in 
three days. Counterclockwise, 
next in line on the perimeter, 
came Barr's 7th Infantry Division 
with two sound regiments, fol- 
lowed by Soule's 3d Infantry 
Division. The southern anchor of 
the perimeter was held by the 1st 
Korean Marine Corps Regiment, 
which had the mission of defend- 

LtCol Harry T. Milne, commanding 
officer of the 1st Tank Battalion, in a 
post-war photograph. Tanks were 
vital to the Marine breakout, but their 
record was marred by poor perfor- 
mance with Task Force Drysdale and, 
later, in Funchilin Pass. 
National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A552011 


t fc.-. s v. 


' ^. v/ •>» -'fflflllt. V A 

Photo by Sgt William R. Keating, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5404 
Once the high ground commanding Funchilin Pass had been taken and the 
Treadway bridge was in place, the 1st Marine Division could descend almost unim- 
peded to the sea. All day long on 10 December Marine troops marched down the 
pass until they reached first Chinhung-ni and then went beyond Sudong-ni where 
they took trucks to Hamhung. 

ing the Yonpo airfield. As the 
evacuation progressed, the MLR 
was to shrink back to successive 
phase lines. 

Admiral Doyle, as commander, 
Task Force 90, assumed control of 
all naval functions on 10 
December. Marine Colonel Ed- 
ward Forney, a X Corps deputy 
chief of staff whose principal 
duties were to advise Almond on 
the use of Marine and Navy forces, 
was now designated as the Corps' 
evacuation control officer. The 
Army's 2d Engineer Special 
Brigade would be responsible for 
operating the dock facilities and 
traffic control. A group of experi- 
enced Japanese dock workers 
arrived to supplement their efforts, 

Years later Almond character- 
ized Forney's performance as fol- 
lows: "I would say that the success 
of [the evacuation] was due 98 
percent to common sense and 
judgment and that this common 
sense and judgment being prac- 
ticed by all concerned was turned 
over to General Forney who orga- 

nized the activities in fine form. I 
mean Colonel Forney, he should 
have been a General)." 

General Field Harris briefed 
General Shepherd on 10 December 

on the status of the 1st Marine 
Aircraft Wing. Ashore were Marine 
fighter squadrons -312, -542, -513, 
and -311. Afloat were VMF-212 in 
the Bataan, VMF-214 in the Sicily, 
and VMF-323 in the Badoeng 
Strait. Shepherd learned that the 
wing had been offered either the K- 
10 airfield near Masan or K-l near 
Pusan. K-l was preferable because 
it was the better field and close to 
Pusan's port facilities. 

The 11th of December was a 
busy day. X Corps issued its 
Operation Order 10-50, calling for 
the immediate embarkation of the 
1st Marine Division. The perimeter 
would shrink progressively as then 
the 7th and 3d Infantry Divisions, in 
turn, were withdrawn. As the 
perimeter contracted, naval gun- 
fire and air support would 
increase to defend the remaining 
beachhead. General MacArthur 
himself arrived that day at Yonpo, 
met with Almond, and approved 
the X Corps evacuation plan. He 
told Almond that he could return to 
(Continued on page 118) 

A Marine, left, and a Korean soldier, right, check the meager baggage of a 
Korean family on 10 December at some point east of Chinhung-ni before allow- 
ing the family to proceed to Hungnam. Some 91, 000 refugees, driven by hunger, 
the cold, and fear of the Chinese, would be evacuated. 

Photo by Cpl James Lyles, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC354459 


Medals of Honor 

Staff Sergeant Archie Van Winkle 

he Medal of 
Honor, the 
Nation 's highest 
award for valor, has 
been given to 294 
Marines since its incep- 
tion in 1862. The 
Korean War saw 42 
Marines so honored. Of 
this number, 14 awards 
were made for actions 
incident to the Chosin 
Reservoir campaign. 
Seven of these awards 
were posthumous. 

Staff Sergeant Archie Van Winkle, 
25, of Juneau, Alaska, and 
Darrington, Washington, a pla- 
toon sergeant in Company B, 1st 
Battalion, 7th Marines, awarded 
the Medal of Honor for gallantry 
and intrepidity in action on 2 

November 1950 near Sudong 
wherein he led a successful 
attack by his platoon in spite of a 
bullet that shattered his arm and a 
grenade that exploded against his 

Sergeant James I. Poynter 

Sergeant James I. Poynter, 33, of where, although already critically 

Downey, California, a squad wounded, he assaulted three 

leader with Company A, 1st enemy machine gun positions 

Battalion, 7th Marines, post- with hand grenades, killing the 

humously awarded the Medal of crews of two and putting the 

Honor for his actions on 4 third out of action before falling 

November south of Sudong, mortally wounded. 


Corporal Le 

Corporal Lee H. Phillips, 20, of 
Ben Hill, Georgia, a squad leader 
with Company B, 2d Battalion, 
7th Marines, posthumously 
awarded the Medal Of Honor for 
actions on 4 November 1950 near 
Sudong where he led his squad in 

J H. Phillips 

a costly hut successful bayonet 
charge against a numerically 
superior enemy. Corporal Phil- 
lips was subsequently killed in 
action on 27 November 1930 at 

Second Lieutenant Robert D. Reem 

Second Lieutenant Robert I). 
Reem, 26, of Elizabethtown, 
Pennsylvania, a platoon leader in 
Company H, 3d Battalion, 7th 
Marines, posthumously awarded 
the Medal of Honor for actions 

on (> November 1950 near 
Chinhung-ni. Leading his platoon 
in the assault of a heavily fortified 
Chinese position, he threw himself 
upon an enemy grenade, sacrific- 
ing his life to save his men. 

First Lieutenant Frank N. Mitchell 

First Lieutenant Frank N. Mitchell. 
29, of Indian Gap, Texas, a mem- 
ber of Company a. Jst Battalion, 
7th Marines, posthumously 
awarded the Medal of I [ouor for 
extraordinary heroism in w aging a 

single-handed battle against the 
enemy on 26 November 1950 
near Yudam-ni to cover the with- 
drawal of wounded Marines, 
notw ith.standing multiple wounds 
lo himself. 

Staff Sergeant Robert S. Kennemore 

Staff Sergeant Robert S, 
Kennemore, 3<>. of Greenville, 
South Carolina, a machine gun 
section leader With Company E, 2d 

Battalion, 7th Marines, awarded 
the Medal of I loner for extraordi- 

nary heroism during the night of 
27-2H November 1950 north ol 
Yudam-ni in deliberately cover- 
ing an enemy grenade whose 
explosion cost him both of his 


Private Hector A. Cafferata Jr. 

Private Hector A. Cafferata,, Jr.. hearted defense on 28 November 

21, horn in New York City, a rifle 1950 of his position at Toktong 

man with Company F. 2d Pass despite his repeated griev- 

Battalion, 1 1 1 Marines, awarded ous wounds, 
the Medal of Honor for his stoUt- 

Captain William E. Barber 

Captain William E. Barber, 31, of the Medal of Honor for his intre- 

Dehart, Kentucky, commanding pid defense of Toktong Pass from 

officer of Company ('. 2d 28 November to 2 December in 

Battalion, 7th Marines, awarded spite of his own severe wounds. 

Private First Class William B. Baugh 

Private First Class William B. 
laugh, 20. horn in MeKinney. 
Kentucky, a member of the Antk 
Tank Assault Platoon. Weapons 
Company. 3d Battalion. [si 
Marines, posthumously awarded 
the Medal of Honor for covering 

with his body an enemy grenade 
thrown into the truck in which 
his squad was moving from 
Kotori to Bagaru ri on the night 
of 29 [November 1950 as part of 
Task Force Drysdale. 

Major Reginald R. Myers 

Major Reginald R. Myers, 31, of sional company of soldiers and 

Boise, Idaho, executive officer of Marines in the critical assault of 

the 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, Kast Hill at Hagaru-fl on 29 

awarded the Medal of Honor for Movemher 1950. 
leading a hastily organized provi- 


Captain Carl L. Sitter 

Captain Carl L. Sitter, 28, born in, Missouri, commanding 
officer of Company G, 3d 
Battalion, 1st Marines, awarded 
the Medal of Honor for his valiant 
leadership in bringing his compa- 

ny from Koto-rj to Hagaru-ri as 
part of Task Force Drysdalc on 29 
November. He then led it in the 
continued assault of vital East Hill 
on 30 November 1950. 

Staff Sergeant William G.Windrich 

Staff Sergeant William G. 
Windrich, 29, born in Chicago, 
Illinois, a platoon sergeant with 
Company I, 3d Battalion, 5th 
Marines, posthumously awarded 
the Medal of Honor for his extra- 

ordinary bravery in taking and 
then holding a critical position 
near Yudam-ni on 29 November 
despite two serious wounds 
which eventually caused his 

Lieutenant Colonel Raymond G. Davis 

Lieutenant Colonel Raymond G. 
Davis, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, 
commanding officer of the 1st 
Battalion. 7th Marines, awarded 
the Medal of Honor for his con- 
spicuous gallantry and skill in 

ion, from 1 to 4 
December 1950, across moun- 
tainous and frigid terrain to come 
to the relief of the beleaguered 
company holding Toktong Pass. 

Sergeant James E. Johnson 

Sergeant James E. Johnson, 24, of 
Washington, D C. and Pocatello, 
Idaho, regularly a member of the 
11th Marines but serving as a pla- 
toon sergeant of a provisional rifle 
platoon attached to the 3d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, posthu- 

mously awarded the Medal of 
Honor for continuing to engage 
the enemy single-handedly in 
hand-to-hand combat on 2 
December south of Yudam-ni after 
being severely wounded. 


Photo by Sgt Frank C. Kerr, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5754 
LtCol Murray's 5th Marines found a tent camp waiting for them when they 
arrived at Hungnam after the long march. Much of the camp was the work of 
the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion. Although there was still snow on the 
ground, the weather at Hungnam was mild in comparison with the sub-zero tem- 
peratures of the Changjin plateau. 

GHQ and pick up his duties as 
MacArthur's chief of staff or he 
could remain in command of X 
Corps. Almond replied that he 
wished to stay with X Corps even 
if it became part of Eighth Army. 
The 27th of December was set as 
the day that X Corps would pass to 
Eighth Army control. 

The evacuation of the 1st 
Marine Division began with the 
loading-out of the 7th Marines in 
the MSTS Daniel I. Sultan. The 5th 
Marines would follow on the 12th 
and the 1st Marines on the 13th. It 
was anticipated that the ships 
would have to make a second, 
even a third turn-around, to lift the 
entire division. The docks could 
berth only seven ships at a time. To 
compensate, there would be some 
double berthing, but most of the 
passengers would have to load out 
in the stream. Approximately 1,400 
vehicles had been brought down 
from the Chosin plateau, about the 
same number as had gone up, but 
now some of the complement 
bore U.S. Army markings. Most of 
the division's vehicles would go 
out in LSTs. Green Beaches One 

and Two could handle 11 LSTs 
simultaneously. Thankfully there 
was no great tide to contend with, 
only one foot as compared to 
Inchon's 30. 

Marine Close Air Support 
at Its Finest 

The Marines' ground control 
intercept squadron, MGCIS-1, 

Major Harold E. Allen commanding, 
shut down at Yonpo on the 11th, 
passing control of air defense of 
the perimeter to the Mount 
McKinley. The sky remained 
empty of enemy aircraft. Overall 
air control stayed with MTACS-2, 
the Marines' tactical air control 
squadron, under Major Christian C. 
Lee. Each of the infantiy battal- 
ions had gone into the Chosin 
campaign with two forward air 
controllers assigned, most of them 
reserves, all of them qualified 
Marine aviators. They brought 
with them both expertise in close 
air support and rapport with the 
fighter-bombers overhead. Al- 
though inclined to lament not hav- 
ing a cockpit assignment they 
realized they were providing an 
unmatched link to the air. They 
knew how to talk a pilot onto a tar- 

Between 1 and 11 December, 
Marine aviators, ashore and afloat, 
flew more than 1,300 sorties in 
support of their comrades on the 
ground. Of these, 254 were flown 
from the Badoeng Strait and 122 
from the late-arriving Sicily. 
(Lundin's Blacksheep squadron, 
still at Wonsan, reembarked in the 

MafGen Almond gave his Marine deputy chief of staff, Col Edward H. Forney, much 
of the credit for the orderly departure of X Corps from Hungnam. Here, on 14 
December, he presents Forney with a Legion of Merit. 

National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC355068 


Photo by Sgt Jack T. McKirk, National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC354464 
MajGen Almond, left, always generous with medals and commendations, on 11 
December congratulates bareheaded BGen Armistead D. Mead, commander of 
Task Force Dog, on keeping theMSR open from Chinhung-ni to Hamhung. Few 
Marines were aware of this Army contribution to their march back from Chosin. 

of ice and snow from the flight 
deck. The Sicily ax. one point had to 
stop flight operations for VMF- 
2l4's Blacksheep in the face of 
heavy seas and 68-knot winds. 
Planes were lost. Three night fight- 
ers went down. There were other 
crashes. It was estimated that a 
pilot who had to ditch at sea in the 
arctic waters had only 20 minutes 
before fatal hypothermia. Two 
VMF-212 pilots from Yonpo, out of 
gas, managed to save themselves 
and their planes by landing on the 
Badoeng Strait. By strenuous 
effort on the part of all hands, air- 
craft availability at Yonpo hovered 
around 67 percent and a remark- 
able 90 percent on board the carri- 
ers. About half the missions flown 
were not for the Marines but for 
someone else. Statistics kept by 
the wing reported a total of 3,703 
sorties in 1,053 missions controlled 
by tactical air control parties being 
flown between 26 October and 11 
December. Of these missions, 599 
were close support — 468 for the 
1st Marine Division, 67 for the 

Sicily on 7 December.) The rest 
had been by the shore-based 
squadrons at Wonsan and Yonpo. 
The first Marine jet squadron to 
arrive in Korea, VMF-311, with 
McDonnell F9F Panther jets, 
Lieutenant Colonel Neil R. 
Mclntyre commanding, had ar- 
rived at Yonpo on 10 December 
and managed to fly four days of 
interdiction missions before moving 
back to Pusan to aid the Fifth Air 
Force in its support of the Eighth 

Flight conditions both ashore at 
Yonpo and afloat in the carriers 
were hellish — in the air, poor 
charts, minimal navigational aids, 
and capricious radios; at Yonpo, 
primitive conditions and icy run- 
ways; and, afloat, ice-glazed decks 
and tumultuous seas for the carrier- 
based aircraft. The Badoeng Strait 
reported scraping off three inches 

Gen MacArthur made one of his quick trips to Korea on 11 December, this time 
to Yonpo Airfield to meet with MajGen Almond and approve the X Corps evacu- 
ation plan. MacArthur is in his trademark peaked cap and Almond is in a bom- 
bardier's leather jacket. No one would mistake the accompanying staff officers, 
with their well-fed jowls, for combat soldiers. 

National Archives Photo (USA) 11 1-SC35441 10 


Photo by SSgt Ed Barnum, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A130426 
Marine crewmen check the loading of rockets on the rails of an F-4U Corsair fly- 
ing from Yonpo Airfield early in December. Despite minimum facilities and ter- 
rible weather, the hard-working crews maintained an availability rate of 67 
percent for aircraft flying from Yonpo. 

ROKs, 56 for the 7th Infantry 
Division, and 8 for the 3d Infantry 
Division. Eight Marine pilots were 
killed or died of wounds, three 
were wounded, and four were 
missing in action. 

Marine transports — twin-engine 
R4Ds and four-engine R5Ds from 
VMR-152, commanded by 44-year- 
old Colonel Deane C. Roberts — 
supplemented General Tunner's 
Combat Cargo Command in its 
aerial resupply and casualty evac- 
uation from Hagaru-ri. 

The squadron that the 1st 
Marine Division considered its 
own private air force, Major 
Gottschalk's VMO-6, with 10 light 
fixed-wing aircraft and nine heli- 
copters, racked up 1,544 flights 
between 28 October and 15 
December. Of these 457 had been 
reconnaissance, 220 casualty evac- 
uation, and 11 search-and-rescue. 

Time 1 To Leave 

Wonsan closed as a port on 
Sunday, 10 December. Outloading 
for the evacuation, conducted 
from 2 to 10 December, was under 
Lieutenant Colonel Henry "Jim" 
Crowe with muscle provided by 
his 1st Shore Party Battalion. The 
attached Company A, 1st Amphib- 
ian Truck Battalion, found 
employment for its DUKWs 

(amphibian trucks) in shuttling 
back and forth between docks and 
ships. In the nine-day period, 
3,834 troops (mostly Army), 7,009 
Korean civilians, 1,146 vehicles, 
and 10,013 tons of bulk cargo 
were evacuated. Defense of the 
immediate harbor area was shared 
with two battalions of South 
Korean Marines and a battalion 
from the 3d Infantry Division. 

General Craig, Smith's sorely 
missed assistant division comman- 
der, returned from emergency 

leave on the 11th. Marines were 
left to wonder what his tactical 
role might have been if he had 
come back earlier. Smith sent him 
south to Pusan to arrange for the 
division's arrival. "I took 35 people 
of various categories with me and 
left for Masan," said Craig years 
later. "[I] conferred with the Army 
commander there about replace- 
ment of enormous losses of equip- 
ment of various kinds. He assured 
me that he would open his store- 
rooms to us and give us anything 
we required that was in his stock. 
And this he did." 

On Tuesday evening, 12 
December, General Almond called 
his generals together for a confer- 
ence and a dinner at X Corps 
headquarters. The division com- 
manders — Smith, Barr, and 
Soule — listened without comment 
to a briefing on the evacuation 
plan. They then learned that the 
true purpose of the dinner was 
Almond's 58th birthday. General 
Ruffner, Almond's chief of staff, 
eulogized his commander, saying, 
in effect, that never in the history of 

Nerve center for the tactical air support ofX Corps was the 1st Marine Aircraft 
Wing's Tactical Air Control Center at Hamhung. After the last of the Marine 
squadrons departed Yonpo on 14 December, control of air operations passed to 
Navy air controllers on the command shipMount McKinley (AGC 7). 

Photo by SSgt Ed Barnum, National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A130453 


National Archives Photo (USN) 80-G-422892 

Wings folded, Marine F-4U Corsairs wait on the ice-glazed percent was maintained on board the carriers. Only half the 
deck of the escort carrier Badoeng Strait (CVE 116), As missions were in support of the Marines. The rest went to the 
much as three inches of ice had to be scraped from the Army and South Koreans, 
flight deck. A remarkable aircraft availability rate of 90 

the U.S. Army had a corps in such 
a short time done so much. 
General Almond replied and 
General Shepherd added a few 
complimentary remarks. Earlier 
Almond had asked Smith if he 
thought it feasible to disinter the 
dead buried at Hungnam. Smith 
did not think it feasible. 

Interdiction fires by Army 
artillery, deep support by naval 
gunfire, and air interdiction bomb- 
ing by Air Force, Navy, and Marine 
aircraft provided a thunderous 
background of noise for the load- 
ing operations. By 13 December 
the 5th and 7th Marines were 
loaded and ready to sail. At 1500, 
General Smith closed his division 
command post ashore and moved 
it to the Bayfield (APA 33). Before 
departing Hungnam, Smith paused 
at the cemetery to join a memorial 
service for the dead. Protestant, 
Catholic, and Jewish chaplains 
officiated. Volleys were fired and 
taps sounded. Meanwhile, the 3d 

and 7th Infantry Divisions had 
nothing to report except light 
probing of their lines and minor 
patrol actions. 

The loading of the Marines and 
attached Army elements was com- 
pleted on the 14th. That day saw 
the last of the Marine land-based 
fighter-bombers depart Yonpo for 
Japan. Shortly after midnight the 
air defense section of MTACS-2 
passed control of all air to the 
Navy's Tactical Air Control 
Squadron One on board the 
Mount McKinley, but, just to be 
sure, a standby Marine tactical air 
control center was set up on an 
LST and maintained until the day 
before Christmas. 

The Bayfield, an attack trans- 
port and the veteran of many land- 
ings, with General Smith 
embarked, lifted her hook and 
sailed at 1030 on 15 December. 
The ship had been experimenting 
with C-rations, but with the 
embarkation of the Marines she 

In a landing exercise in reverse, 
Marines in an LCM landing craft 
head for a transport waiting for them 
in Hungnam harbor. The docks could 
only berth seven ships at a time, so 
most soldier and Marines had to load 
out in the stream. Collecting enough 
ships, both U.S. Navy and Merchant 
Marine, for the evacuation was a 
monumental effort. 

National Archives Photo (USN) 80-G-424506 


Department of Defense Photo (USA) SC355243 

These members of the 5th Marines 
move by way of a cargo net from an 
LCM landing craft into a side hatch of 
the transport that would take them to 
the southern tip of the Korean penin- 
sula. Loading out of the regiment was 
essentially accomplished in one day, 12 
December. Destination was the "Bean 
Patch" at Masan. 

returned to a more appetizing 
Navy diet. A total of 22,215 
Marines had boarded an assem- 
blage of 4 transports, 16 landing 
ships, an assault cargo ship, and 7 
merchant ships. General Shep- 
herd, with his Marines safely 
embarked, left Hungnam the same 
day for Hawaii by way of Tokyo. 
Just before leaving Hungnam he 
attended a ceremony at which 
General Almond presented a 
Distinguished Service Cross to 
General Barr. 

A day's steaming on board the 
jam-packed ships took the Marines 
to Pusan. They landed at Pusan 
and motor-marched to the "bean 
patch" at Masan where a tent 
camp was being set up. Smith 
moved into a Japanese-style 
house. "The toilet works, but the 
radiators are not yet in operation," 
he noted. 

The Commandant reported to 
the Secretary of the Navy 4,418 

Marine casualties for the period 26 
October to 15 December. Of these, 
718 were killed or died of wounds, 
3,508 wounded, and 192 missing 
in action. In addition, there were 
7,313 non-battle casualties, mostly 
frostbite. Roughly speaking, these 
non-battle casualties added up to a 
third of the strength of the divi- 
sion. (From 26 November until 11 
December, Commander Howard 
A. Johnson's 1st Medical Battalion 
had treated 7,350 casualties of all 
categories.) The three infantry reg- 
iments had absorbed the lion's 
share of the casualties and arrived 
at the Bean Patch at about 50 per- 
cent strength. Some rifle compa- 
nies had as little as 25 or 30 
percent of their authorized 

Chinese Casualties 

Captured documents and pris- 
oner interrogations confirmed that 
the Marines had fought at least 
nine and possibly all 12 CCF divi- 
sions. These divisions can be 
assumed to have each entered 
combat at an effective strength of 
about 7,500 — perhaps 90,000 men 
in all. Other estimates of Chinese 

strength go as high as 100,000 or 
more. Peng's chief of staff said, it 
will be remembered, that the 
Ninth Army Group had started 
across the Yalu with 150,000 
troops, but not all of these had 
come against the 1st Marine 
Division. The Marines could only 
guess at the casualties they had 
inflicted. The estimates came in at 
15,000 killed and 7,500 wounded by 
the ground forces and an addition- 
al 10,000 killed and 5,000 wound- 
ed by Marine air. 

Still waiting in the surrounding 
hills above Hamhung, Sung Shi- 
lun's Ninth Army Group — assum- 
ing non-combat casualties at least 
equal to battle casualties — probably 
had at most no more than 35,000 
combat effectives. Almond's X 
Corps had three times that num- 
ber. Rank-and-file Marines who 
grumbled, "Why in the hell are we 
bugging out? Why don't we stay 
here until spring and then coun- 
terattack?" may have had it right. 

Lust Days of the Evacuation 

The light carrier Bataan (CVL 
29) joined Task Force 77 on 16 
December, too late to help the 


Photo by Cpl W. T. Wolfe, Department of Defense Photo (1JSMC) A5414 

MajGen Smith, a deeply religious man, paid a last visit to the Volleys were fired and taps sounded. During the course of 

division 's Hungnam cemetery before boarding the Bayfield the Chosin Reservoir campaign, 714 Marines were killed or 

(APA 33) on 13 December. A memorial service with chaplains died of wounds, 
of three faiths, Protestant, Catholic, and fewish, was held. 

Marines, but in time for the last 
stages of the Hungnam evacua- 
tion. Airlift from Yonpo continued 
until 17 December after which that 
field was closed and a temporary 
field, able to handle two-engine 
transports, opened in the harbor 
area. The only Marine units still 
ashore were an ANGLICO (Air 
Naval Gunfire Liaison Company) 
group, a reinforced shore party 
company, and one-and-a-half 
companies of the 1st Amphibian 
Tractor Battalion manning 88 
amphibian tractors. These Marines 
had been left behind to assist in 

the outloading of the remainder of 
X Corps. General Smith had resist- 
ed this detachment, and General 
Shepherd, before departing, had 
advised Smith to stress to X Corps 
the irreplaceable character of the 
tractors. Admiral Doyle, as a safe- 
guard, had earmarked several 
LSDs (landing ship, docks) to lift off 
the tractor companies and their 

The last of the ROK Army units 
sailed away on the 18th. General 
Almond closed his command post 
ashore on 19 December and 
joined Admiral Doyle in the 

Mount McKinley. Doyle reminded 
Almond that, in accordance with 
amphibious doctrine, all troops 
still ashore were now under his 
command as amphibious task 
force commander. By the 20th all of 
the 7th Infantry Division was 
embarked. On the morning of 24 
December the 3d Infantry did its 
amphibious landing in reverse, 
coming off seven beaches into 
landing ships in smart style marred 
only by the premature explosion 
of an ammunition dump, set off by 
an Army captain, that killed a 
Marine lieutenant and a Navy sea- 


Department of Defense Photo (USN) 424527 
Marines, probably members of the division headquarters, board the Bayfield by 
way of the gangway ladder. With MajGen Smith and his command group 
embarked, the Bayfield lifted her hook and sailed before noon on 15 December. 
A day's steaming would take the ship to Pusan. 

man and wounded 34 others. 
Three Marine amphibian tractors 
were lost in the explosion. 

Totting up the statistics: 105,000 
U.S. and ROK service men, 91,000 
Korean refugees, 17,500 vehicles, 
and 350,000 measurement tons 
had gone out in 193 shiploads in 
109 ships — some ships made two or 
even three trips. 

The carrier Valley Forge came 
on station on 23 December, in 
time for the final curtain. By mid- 
afternoon on the 24th, all beaches 

were clear and the planned 
pyrotechnic display of demolitions 
and final naval gunfire began. The 
whole waterfront seemed to 
explode as prepared explosive 
charges went off, sending skyward 
such ammunition, POL, and other 
stores as could not be lifted off. 
On board the Mount McKinley the 
embarked brass enjoyed the show 
and then the command ship sailed 

More naval shells were used at 
Hungnam than at Inchon. Navy 

records show that during the peri- 
od 7 to 24 December the expendi- 
ture, headed off by 162 
sixteen-inch rounds from the bat- 
tleship Missouri (BB 63), included 
2,932 eight-inch, 18,637 five-inch, 
and 71 three-inch shells plus 1,462 
five-inch rockets. The Chinese did 
not choose to test seriously the 
Hamhung-Hungnam perimeter de- 
fenses. Not a man was lost to 
enemy action. 

After the short run south, 
General Almond went ashore from 
the Mount McKinley at Ulsan at 
mid-afternoon with Admiral Doyle 
to inspect unloading areas. Late in 
the evening they returned in the 
admiral's barge to the flagship and 
then went ashore again for 
Christmas dinner, Doyle explain- 
ing to Almond that no alcoholic 
drinks could be served on board 

Chairman Mao Is Pleased 

On 17 December the Chinese 
occupied Hamhung. On the 27th 
they moved into Hungnam. 
Chairman Mao sent the Ninth 
Army Group a citation: "You com- 
pleted a great strategic task under 
extremely difficult conditions." 

But the costs had been high. 
The assaults against Yudam-ni and 
Hagaru-ri had almost destroyed 
the 20th and 27th CCF Armies. 
From Koto-ri on most of the 
Chinese fight was taken up by the 
26th CCF Army. 

Zhang Renchu, commander of 
the 26th CCF Army lamented in 
his report: 

A shortage of transporta- 
tion and escort personnel 
makes it impossible to 
accomplish the mission of 
supplying the troops. As a 
result, our soldiers frequently 
starve. From now on, the 
organization of our rear ser- 


Department of Defense Photo (USA) SC355244 

Vehicles of LtCol Youngdale's 11th Marines are swung up on board a merchant 
ship at a Hungnam dock on 14 December. Some ships had to make two or even 
three round trips before the evacuation was completed. About 1, 400 vehicles had 
been brought down to Hungnam by the division . Most would go out by LSTs (tank 
landing ships). 

tions from higher level units. 
Rapid changes of the enemy's 
situation and the slow motion 
of our signal communications 
caused us to lose our oppor- 
tunities in combat and made 
the instructions of the high 
level units ineffective. 

We succeeded in the sepa- 
ration and encirclement of the 
enemy, but we failed to anni- 
hilate the enemy one by one. 
For example, the failure to 
annihilate the enemy at 
Yudam-ni made it impossible 
to annihilate the enemy at 

Zhang Yixiang reported 100 
deaths from tetanus due to poor 
medical care. Hundreds more were 
sick or dead from typhus or mal- 
nutrition to say nothing of losses 
from frostbite. The 26th CCFArmy 
reported 90 percent of the com- 
mand suffering from frostbite. 

vice units should be im- 

The troops were hungry. 
They ate cold food, and some 
had only a few potatoes in 
two days. They were unable to 
maintain the physical strength 
for combat; the wounded per- 
sonnel could not be evacuat- 
ed. . . . The fire power of our 
entire army was basically 
inadequate. When we used 
our guns there were no shells 
and sometimes the shells 
were duds. 

Zhang Yixiang, commander of 
the 20th CCF Army, equally bitter, 
recognized that communications 
limitations had caused a tactical 

Our signal communication 
was not up to standard. For 
example, it took more than 
two days to receive instruc- 

An Army band greets Col Litzenberg's 7th Marines on arrival atPusan. From here 
the regiment moved by motor march to Masan where an advance party had the 
beginnings of a tent camp ready for them. After a pause for Christmas, the 
rebuilding of the 1st Marine Division began in earnest. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5704 


The 1st Marine Division was only a fraction of the total 
evacuation from Hungnam. In all, along with 105, 000 U.S. 
and South Korean servicemen, 91,000 civilian refugees 
were evacuated. In materiel, 1 7,500 vehicles and 350,000 

Photo by David Douglas Duncan 
tons of all classes of equipment and supplies were taken out 
in 193 shiploads in 109 ships. "We never, never contemplated 
a Dunkirk, "Admiral C. Turner Joy later said. 

MajGen Robert H. "Shorty" Soule, 
USA, supervises the loading-out of the 
last elements of his 3d Infantry 
Division at Hungnam on 24 
December. By then, MajGen Almond, 
the X Corps commander, considered 
the 3d Infantry Division, which had 
not been involved in heavy fighting, his 
most combat-effective division. 
National Archives Photo (USA) 111-SC355587 

Peng Deqing, commander of 
the 27th CCF Army, reported 
10,000 non-combat casualties in 
his four divisions: 

The troops did not have 
enough food. They did not 
have enough houses to live 
in. They could not stand the 
bitter cold, which was the 
reason for the excessive non- 
combat reduction in person- 
nel. The weapons were not 
used effectively. When the 
fighters bivouacked in snow- 
covered ground during com- 
bat, their feet, socks, and 
hands were frozen together 
in one ice ball. They could 
not unscrew the caps on the 
hand grenades. The fuses 
would not ignite. The hands 
were not supple. The mortar 
tubes shrank on account of 
the cold; 70 percent of the 

shells failed to detonate. Skin 
from the hands was stuck on 
the shells and the mortar 

In best Communist tradition of 
self-criticism, Peng Deqing de- 
plored his heavy casualties as 
caused by tactical errors-. 

We underestimated the 
enemy so we distributed the 
strength, and consequently 
the higher echelons were 
over-dispersed while the 
lower echelon units were 
over-concentrated. During 
one movement, the distance 
between the three leading 
divisions was very long, 
while the formations of the 
battalions, companies, and 
units of lower levels were too 
close, and the troops were 
unable to deploy. Further- 


Department of Defense Photo (USN) 424093 
North Korean refugees wait apprehensively to board U.S. Navy LST 845. Some 
91,000 civilians were evacuated from Hungnam. This does not count the thou- 
sands of others who fled Hungnam and other North Korean ports in fishing boats 
and other coastal vessels. Family separations occurred that in future years 
would never be mended. 

meters from them, making it 
difficult for our troops to 
deploy and thus inflicting 
casualties upon us. 

In a 17 December message to 
Peng Dehuai, Mao acknowledged 
that as many as 40,000 men had 
perished due to cold weather, lack 
of supplies, and the fierce fighting. 
"The Central Committee cherishes 
the memory of those lost." Peng 
asked for 60,000 replacements; it 
would be April before the Ninth 
Army Group again went into com- 

Christmas ai Masan 

At Masan on Christmas Eve, Olin 
Beall, the mustang commander of 
the 1st Motor Transport Battalion, 
wrote a letter to his old command- 
ing officer, General Holland M. 
"Howlin' Mad" Smith, now retired 
and living in La Jolla, California: 

more, reconnaissance was 
not conducted strictly; we 
walked into the enemy fire 
net and suffered heavy casu- 

Zhang Renchu, commander of 
the 26th CCF Army found reason to 
admire the fire support coordination 
of the Marines-. 

The coordination between 
the enemy infantry, tanks, 
artillery, and airplanes is sur- 
prisingly close. Besides using 
heavy weapons for the depth, 
the enemy carries with him 
automatic light firearms 
which, coordinated with 
rockets, launchers, and re- 
coilless guns are disposed at 
the front line. The character- 
istic of their employment is to 
stay quietly under cover and 
open fire suddenly when we 
come to between 70 and 100 

An enormous stockpile of equipment and supplies, including rations, fuel, and 
ammunition had been built up at Hungnam. Much was evacuated, but even more 
would have to be destroyed. A detachment of Marines was left behind to help in 
the destruction. A Marine lieutenant was killed on 24 December in a premature 
explosion, probably the last Marine casualty of the campaign. 

Department of Defense Photo (USA) SC 355021 


Department of Defense Photo (USN) 424297 

The Begor (APD 127), a high-speed amphibious transport, a crescendo of planned demolitions and naval gunfire, 
lends its weight to the pyrotechnic display ashore on 24 RAdm Doyle and MajGen Almond watched the spectacle 
December. In a final farewell to the stricken port there was from the bridge of the Mount McKinley. 

I just thought that you 
might like to have a few 
words on first hand informa- 
tion from an ole friend and 
an ole timer. . . . I've seen 
some brave men along that 
road and in these hills, men 
with feet frozen, men with 
hands frozen still helping 
their buddies, men riding 

trucks with frozen feet but 
fighting from the trucks. . . .1 
think the fight of our 5th and 
7th Regts, from Yudam-ni in to 
Hagaru-ri was a thing that 
will never be equaled. . . . 
Litzenberg [7th] and Murray 
[5th] showed real command 
ability and at no time did any 
of us doubt their judgment. 

The night we came out of 
Koto-ri the temperature was 
27 below zero and still we 
fought. Men froze to their 
socks, blood froze in wounds 
almost instantaneously, ones 
fingers were numb inside 
heavy mittens. Still men took 
them off to give to a wound- 
ed buddy. . . . We are now in 


Department of Defense Photo (USA) 426954 
More naval shells were shot at Hungnam than at Inchon. Here the battleship 
Missouri (BB 63) bangs away with its 16-inch guns. Altogether the Navy fired more 
than 162 sixteen-inch, 2,932 eight-inch, and 18,637 five-inch shells plus 1,462 
five-inch rockets during the period 7 to 24 December. 

Masan in South Korea reout- 
fitting, training and getting 
some new equipment. I'm 
very, very proud to be able to 
say that in all our operation 
my Bn [1st Motor Transport 
Battalion] has lost only 27 
trucks and every one of these 
was an actual battle casualty, 
so I think my boys did pretty 
good. . . . Oliver P. Smith and 
Craig make a fine team and 
we'd stand by them thru hell 
and high water. 

An epidemic of flu and bronchi- 
tis swept through the tent camp at 
Masan. The Marines were treated 

with an early antibiotic, Aure- 
omycin, in capsules to be swal- 
lowed the size of the first joint of a 
man's finger. The division rebuilt 
itself rapidly. Replacements — men 
and materiel — arrived. Some units 
found themselves with an "over- 
age" of vehicles and weapons that 
had to be returned to the Army. 

A refrigerator ship brought into 
Masan a planned double ration of 
Christmas turkey. Through some 
mix-up a second shipment of 
turkey and accessories arrived so 
that there were four days of holiday 
menu for the Marines. Working 
parties pretending to be patrols 
went up into the surrounding hills 

to cut pine trees to line the com- 
pany streets of the tent camp. C- 
ration cans and crinkled tinfoil 
from cigarette packages made do 
for ornaments. Choirs were 
formed to sing Christmas carols. 
Various delegations of South 
Koreans, civilian and military, 
arrived at the camp with gifts and 
musical shows. 

On Christmas Day, General 
Smith was pleased to note that 
attendance at church services was 
excellent. Afterward he held open 
house at his Japanese-style house 
for officers of sufficient rank — his 
special staff, general staff, and 
more senior unit commanders. 
First Lieutenant James B. Soper, 
serving at Sasebo, Japan, had sent 
the commanding general's mess a 
case of Old Grand-Dad bourbon. 
Mixed with powered milk, sugar, 
and Korean eggs it made a passable 

The irrepressible LtCol OlinL. Beall in 
a photo taken at Camp Pendleton in 
May 1951. Beall's exploits as com- 
manding officer of the 1st Motor 
Transport Battalion, which lost noth- 
ing in his own telling, delighted 
MajGen Smith, himself a reserved 
and rather humorless individual. 

National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A215229 


National Archives Photo (USMC) 127-N-A5848 
On Christmas Day, MajGen Smith held open house for his senior officers and imme- 
diate staff at his Japanese-style quarters in Masan. Not all can be readily iden- 
tified, but easily recognizable on the General's right are Cols Puller, McAlister, and 
Bowser. On Smith 's immediate left, with pipe, is BGen Craig. In the middle of the 
kneeling row is LtCol Beall. 

Drysdale's 41 Commando also 
held an open house. The British 
embassy in Tokyo had sent over a 
supply of Scotch whisky and 
mincemeat pies. Most of the guests 
were officers of the 1st and 5th 

On 27 December, for the benefit 
of his log, General Smith added up 
his division's losses since the 
Inchon landing on 15 September: 

Killed in action 969 

Died of wounds 163 

Missing in action 199 

Wounded in action 5,517 

Total 6,848 
Non-battle casualties 8,900 
Prisoners of war taken 7,916 

On the 28th of December the 
division was placed once again 
under the operational control of X 
Corps, still commanded by 
Almond who would soon be pro- 
moted to lieutenant general. X 

Corps was now part of the Eighth 
Army, which had a new comman- 
der. General Walker had been 
killed when this jeep collided with 
a South Korean weapons carrier 
north of Seoul on 23 December. 
Lieutenant General Matthew B. 
Ridgway, known to the Marines as 
a fighting paratrooper in World 
War II, took his place. General 
Smith met him for the first time at 
a conference at X Corps headquar- 
ters on 30 December. Ridgway told 
his listeners that he wanted less 
looking backward toward the MSR, 
saying that when parachutists 
landed their MSR was always cut. 
Smith, not sure if this was praise or 
criticism, was nevertheless cau- 
tiously impressed by the new com- 
manding general. 

By the first of the year the 1st 
Marine Division would be ready to 
return to combat. There would be 
new battles to be fought — and 

Dressed for the occasion of MajGen Smith 's Christmas party, LtCol Murray is wear- 
ing an Army winter trench coat and Col Puller a brand-new M1943 field jack- 
et. Both wear the highly prized cuffed Army boots, but O. P. Smith, his 
inseparable pipe clutched in his left hand, is wearing, as always, regulation leg- 
gings with his high-top "boondockers. " 

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A5850 


What Happened to Them? 

Charles L."Gus" Banks, commander of the 1st 
Service Battalion, received a Navy Cross for 
his actions at Hagaru-ri. He retired in 1959 
with a promotion to brigadier general in recogni- 
tion of his combat decorations and died in 1988. 

Boeker C. Batterton, commanding officer of 
MAG-12, retired in 1958 with a promotion to 
brigadier general in recognition of his combat 
decorations. He died in 1987. 

Olin L. Beall, commanding officer of the 1st 
Motor Transport Battalion, retired as a colonel, 
with both a Navy Cross and a Distinguished 
Service Cross for his actions at Chosin Reservoir. 
He died in 1977. 

Alpha L. Bowser, Jr., the division's G-3 or oper- 
ations officer, retired in 1967 as a lieutenant gen- 
eral and presently lives in Hawaii. 

James H. Brower, commander of the 11th 
Marines, the artillery regiment, retired as a 
colonel in I960 and died in 1984. 

J. Frank Cole, commanding officer of VMF-312, 
retired as a colonel in 1965 and died in 1969. 

Henry P. "Jim" Crowe, commanding officer of 1st 
Shore Battalion, retired in I960 as a colonel, 
became chief of police in Portsmouth, Virginia, and 
died in 1991. 

Raymond G. Davis, commander of the 1st 
Battalion, 7th Marines, went on to command the 
3d Marine Division in Vietnam and was a four-star 
general and Assistant Commandant of the Marine 
Corps before retiring in 1972. He now lives near 
Atlanta, Georgia. 

Frederick R. Dowsett, the executive officer of the 
7th Marines, retired as a colonel and died in 1986. 

Vincent J. Gottschalk, commanding officer of 
VMO-6, received a Silver Star for his service in 
Korea. He retired as a colonel in 1968 and died in 

Field Harris, commanding general of the 1st 
Marine Aircraft Wing, retired in 1953 and was 
advanced to lieutenant general because of his 
combat decorations. He died in 1967 at age 72. 

William F. Harris, commander of the 3d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, was listed as missing in 
action. No trace of him was ever found and he was 
eventually presumed dead. He received a posthu- 
mous Navy Cross. 

Bankson T. Holcomb, Jr., the division's G-2 or 
intelligence officer, retired as a brigadier general 

in 1959- An expatriate, he lived for many years in 
Inverness, Scotland, where he died in 2000 at the 
age of 92. 

Milton A. Hull, company commander, 
Company D, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, twice 
wounded, received both a Silver Star and Navy 
Cross for his actions. He retired as a colonel in 1969 
and died in 1984. 

Robert P. Keller, commander of the 
"Blacksheep Squadron" and air liaison officer to 
Fifth Air Force, retired in 1974 as a lieutenant 
general. He lives in Pensacola, Florida. 

Randolph S. D. Lockwood, commander of the 2d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, was not evacuated after 
being relieved but continued to move with the 7th 
Marines. On arrival at Masan he was sent to an 
Army hospital for psychiatric observation. The 
Army psychiatrist concluded he had suffered a 
situational neurosis, which disappeared after the 
evacuation. Lockwood returned briefly to the 2d 
Battalion, 7th Marines, but was soon transferred to 
administrative duties. He retired as a lieutenant 
colonel in I960 and resides in Texas. 

James F Lawrence, Jr., who assumed command of 
2d Battalion, 7th Marines, after Lockwood's relief, 
received a Navy Cross for his actions at the reser- 
voir. After distinguished service as a Marine Corps 
lawyer, he retired in 1972 as a brigadier general. 
He lives in northern Virginia. 

Homer L. LitzenbergJr., commanding officer of 
the 7th Marines, rapidly ascended in grade to 
major general and as such in 1957 served as the 
senior member of the United Nations component 
negotiating the peace talks at Panmunjom. He 
retired in 1959, was elevated to lieutenant gener- 
al because of his combat decorations, and died in 
1963 at age 68. 

Francis M. McAlister, the division's G-4 or 
logistics officer, succeeded Puller as the com- 
mander, 1st Marines, a position he held until 
wounded in May 1951. He retired as a major gen- 
eral in I960 and died in 1965. 

John N. McLaughlin, survived his captivity and 
went on to become a lieutenant general and chief 
of staff at Headquarters Marine Corps. He retired 
in 1977 and lives in Savannah, Georgia. 

Raymond L. Murray, commander of the 5th 
Marines, rose to the grade of major general before 
retiring in 1968. He lives in Southern California. 


Reginald R. Myers, Executive Officer, 3d 
Battalion, 1st Marines, received a Medal of Honor 
for his actions on East Hill. He retired as a 
colonel in 1967 and now lives in Florida. 

George R. Newton, commander of the 1st 
Battalion, 5th Marines, received a Silver Star for his 
service in Korea and retired as a colonel in 1964. 
He died in 1993- 

Francis F. "Fox" Parry, commander of 3d 
Battalion, 11th Marines, retired as a colonel in 
1967. He published his memoir, Three War 
Marine, in 1987. He lives in Flourtown, 

John H. Partridge, the division engineer, retired 
as a colonel in 1965 and died in 1987. 

Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, the 1st Marines' com- 
manding officer, was promoted to brigadier gen- 
eral and became the division's assistant 
commander in February 1951. He received his 
fifth Navy Cross for his performance at the Chosin 
Reservoir and rose to the grade of major general 
on active service and to lieutenant general on the 
retired list when he retired in 1955. He died in 1971 
at the age of 73- 

J. Robert Reinburg, commander of VMF(N)-513, 
retired as a colonel in 1978 and died in 1997. 

Thomas L. Ridge, Commanding Officer, 3d 
Battalion, 1st Marines, received a Silver Star for his 
defense of Hagaru. He retired as a colonel in 
1964 and died in 1999. 

Maurice E. Roach, Litzenberg's jack-of-all- 
trades, retired as a colonel in 1962 and died in 

Deane C. Roberts, commander of VMR-152, 
retired as a colonel in 1957 and died in 1985. 

Harold S. Roise, commander of 2d Battalion, 
5th Marines, received two Navy Crosses for his 
heroic actions. He retired as a colonel in 1965 
and died in 1991. 

Webb D. "Buzz" Sawyer, Litzenberg's roving bat- 
talion commander, received two Silver Stars for his 
actions at Chosin Reservoir and a Navy Cross for 
later heroics during the Chinese spring coun- 
teroffensive in April 1951. He retired as a 
brigadier general in 1968 and died in 1995. 

Henry W. "Pop" SeeleyJr., retired as a colonel in 
1963 with his last years of active duty as a highly 
regarded logistics officer. He lives in Florida. 

Donald M. "Buck" Schmuck, Commanding 
Officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, was later 
advanced to executive officer of the regiment. He 

retired in 1959 and because of his combat deco- 
rations was advanced in grade to brigadier general. 
He lives in Wyoming and Hawaii. 

Carl L. Sitter, company commander, Company 
G, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, recipient of a Medal 
of Honor, retired as colonel in 1970. He was a long- 
time resident of Richmond, Virginia, until his 
death in 2000. 

Oliver P. Smith, Commanding General, 1st 
Marine Division, was promoted to lieutenant gen- 
eral in 1953 and given command of Fleet Marine 
Force, Atlantic. He retired in 1955 and for his 
many combat awards was raised in grade to four- 
star general. He died on Christmas Day, 1977, at 
his home in Los Altos Hills, California, at age 81. 

Edward W. Snedeker, the division's deputy chief 
of staff, retired as a lieutenant general in 1963. In 
retirement he was known as a world-class stamp 
collector. He died in 1995. 

Edward P. Stamford, the Marine tactical air con- 
troller with Task Force Faith, retired as a major in 
196l and lives in Southern California. 

Allan Sutter, commander of the 2d Battalion, 1st 
Marines, retired as a colonel in 1964 and died in 
Orange, Virginia, in 1988. 

Max J. Volcansek, Jr., commander of VMF(N)- 
542, retired in 1956 and was advanced in grade to 
brigadier general because of his combat decora- 
tions. He died in 1995. 

Harvey S.Walseth, the division's G-l or person- 
nel officer, after recovering from his wounds, 
returned to the division to serve as deputy chief 
of staff and commanding officer, rear echelon. He 
retired in I960 as a colonel and resides in Santa 
Barbara, California. 

Erwin F. Wann, Jr., commander of the 1st 
Amphibian Tractor Battalion, retired as a colonel 
in 1965 and died in 1997. 

Gregon A.Williams, the division's chief of staff, 
retired as a major general in 1954 and died in 

David C. Wolfe, successor to Reinburg as 
Commanding Officer, VMF(N)-513, served as the 
head of the U.S. military mission in the 
Dominican Republic before retiring as a colonel in 
1965. He died in 1992. 

Carl A. Youngdale, who relieved Brower as 
Commanding Officer, 11th Marines, went on to 
command the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam and 
retired as a major general in 1972. He died in 


About ihe Authoi 

Edwin Howard Simmons, a 
retired Marine brigadier gen- 
eral, was, as a major, the com- 
manding officer of Weapons 
Company, 3d Battalion, 1st 
Marines, throughout the Chosin 
Reservoir campaign. His active 
Marine Corps service spanned 30 
years — 1942 to 1972 — during 
which, as he likes to boast, suc- 
cessively in World War II, Korea, 
and Vietnam he had command or 
acting command in combat of every size unit from platoon 
to division. A writer and historian all his adult life, he was 
the Director of Marine Corps History and Museums from 
1972 until 1996 and is now the Director Emeritus. 

Born in 1921 in Billingsport, New Jersey, the site of a 
Revolutionary War battle, he received his commission in the 
Marine Corps in 1942 through the Army ROTC at Lehigh 
University. He also holds a master's degree from Ohio State 
University and is a graduate of the National War College. A 
one-time managing editor of the Marine Corps Gazette 
(1945-1949), he has been widely published, including more 
than 300 articles and essays. His most recent books are The 
United States Marine: A History (1998), The Marines (1998), 
and a Korean War novel, Dog Company Six. He is the 
author of an earlier pamphlet in this series, Over the 
Seawall: U.S. Marines at Inchon. 

He is married, has four grown children, and lives with 
his wife, Frances, at their residence, "Dunmarchin," two 
miles up the Potomac from Mount Vernon. 

THIS PAMPHLET HISTORY, one in a series devoted to U.S. Marines 
in the Korean War era, is published for the education and training of 
Marines by the History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. 
Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., as part of the U.S. Department of 
Defense observance of the 50th anniversary of that war. Editorial costs 
have been defrayed in part by contributions from members of the 
Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. To plan and coordinate the Korean 
War commemorative events and activities of the Sea Services, the Navy, 
Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have formed the Sea Services Korean 
War Commemoration Committee, chaired by the Director, Navy Staff. 
For more information about the Sea Services' commemorative effort, 
please contact the Navy-Marine Corps Korean War Commemoration 
Coordinator at (202) 433-4223/3085, FAX 433-7265 (DSN288-7265), E- 
Mail:, Website: www.histo- 


Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC (Ret) 
Charles R. Smith 
W. Stephen Hill, Visual Information Specialist 
Catherine A. Kerns, Visual Information Specialist 
Lieutenant Colonel Ward E. Scott n, USMCR, Coordinator 
U.S. Marine Corps Historical Center 
1254 Charles Morris Street SE 
Washington Navy Yard DC 20374-5040 

PCN 19000410000 


The official history. The Cbosin Reservoir 
Campaign by Lynn Montross and Capt 
Nicholas A. Canzona, volume three in the 
five-volume series U.S. Marine Operations 
in Korea, 1950 1953, provided a starting 

place For this account. However, in the near 
half-century since this volume was pub- 
lished in l'JS" 1 , [here lias been a great deal 
of new scholarship as well as release of 
classified records, particularly with respect 
to Chinese forces. This pamphlet attempts 
to benefit from these later sources. 

With respect to Chinese forces, The 
Dragon Strikes by Maj Patrick C. Hoe has 
been especially useful as have various arti- 
cles In both Chinese and Western scholars 
that have appeared in academic journals. 
The Changjiii Journal, the electronic 
newsletter edited by Col George A. Rasula, 
USA (Ret), has provided thought-provoking 
detail on the role of U.S. Army forces, par- 
ticularly RCT-31, at the reservoir. The as-yet 
uncompleted work on the Hungnam evacu- 
ation by Professor Donald Chisholm has 
yielded new insights on that critical culmi- 
nating event. 

Hooks, some new, some old. that have 
been most useful include — listed alphabet) 
cally and not necessarily by worth, which 

varies widely — Roy F. Appleman, East of 
Cbosin and .•><;/(//> to the Naktong, North in 
the Yalu. Clay Blair, The Forgotten War, 
Malcolm W. Cagle and Frank A. Manson, 
The Sea War in Korea. T. R. Fehrenbach. 
This Kind of War, Andrew '"leer. I'he New 
Breed. I). M Gi.mgreco, War in Korea, 
1950*1953; Richard P Haliion, The Naval 
Air War in Korea, Max Hastings, The 
Korean War: Robert Leckie, The March to 
Glory, Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences; 
Francis Fox Parry;, Three War Marine. 
Russell Spurr. Enter the Dragon; Shelby L 
Stanton, America's Tenth Legion: John 
Toland. />/ Mortal Combat: Korea 1950- 
1953: Rudy Tomedi, No Bugles. No Drums. 
and Harry Truman, Memoirs. 

The official reports thai proved most 
helpful were the Far East Commands 
Command Report. December 1950; the 1st 
Marine Divisions Historical Diary for 
November 1950. the Commander, Task 
Force 90*s Hungnam Redeployment, 9-25 
December 1950. and the Headquarters, X 
Corps, Special Report mi Chosin Reservoir. 
17 November 10 to December 1950. 

Oral histories, diaries, memoirs (pub- 
lished and unpublished), and personal cor- 
respondence were extremely useful, espe- 
cially those papers originating with 
Generals Almond, Bowser, Craig. 
berg, Murray, Shepherd, and Smith 

Resort was made to scores of biographi- 
cal and subject files held by the Reference 
Section of the Marine Corps Historical 

The author also unabashedl) put to use 
his own recollections of events and recycled 
materials thai he had first developed on 
Chosin Reservou in various essays, articles, 
and lectures during the past half-century. 

As is invariably the case, the author had 
the unstinting and enthusiastic support and 
cooperation of the staff at the Marine Corps 
Historical Center 

The text has benefited greatly from the 
critical reviews by the editorial ladder with- 
in the Marine Corps Historical Center — Mr 
Charles li. "Rich' Smith. Mr Charles D. 
Melsnn, LtCol Jon Hoffman — and extern. illv 
by Col Joseph Alexander. Co! Thomas G. 
Ferguson, USA (Ret), BGen James F. 
Lawrence, Col Allan R. Milieu, Mr. J. Robert 
Moskin, Col George A. Rasula. USA (Ret), 
and Maj Patrick C. Roe. The author, of 
course, remains responsible fur am defects 
remaining in the book. 

A fully annotated draft manuscript is on 
deposit at the Marine Corps Historical 
Center Virtually all of the reference materi- 
als published and unpublished, used can he 
found at the Marine Corps Historical Center 
In Washington, DC, or at the Marine Corps 
Research Center at Quantlco, Virginia.